Pastor's Corner: The precious gift of giving

Friday, November 16, 2012

Just over a week ago, Hurricane or Super-storm Sandy hit the East Coast of the United States. Now there was supposed to be a marathon in New York last Sunday but it was cancelled. Instead of throwing in the towel and not running that weekend, Runner's World (a news source for runners) reported that over 500 runners showed up to bring supplies to relief working groups. And with debris blocking traffic they couldn't exactly drive it there. So they did what they love to do, they ran the supplies to the drop points. Sometimes the runners would get to a drop point only to realize that due to varying needs they had to go somewhere else. After running for miles with heavy packs on their backs a group was told they needed to run three-four more miles to another drop site. One of the women told reporters she just wanted for the groaning and complaining to start but no one did. When a group member asked the oldest runner in their group, a 72-year-old woman, what she thought about going another three miles, she smiled and said "well these people need help, we can't stop now."

Talk about having a healthy, giving heart (and attitude)!

When God has placed it upon someone's heart to give there's no changing their minds...

Now when we read this story there is always something that jumps out to me that makes me both happy and sad; the generosity of the widow...I think it amazing how she gives so freely of the little she has. But then I am saddened when Jesus compares the giving of the rich to the woman. They didn't give so freely of all they had, sure they put in large sums but proportionally she gave more. She gave out of her poverty. She gave her all, which is what we are called to do. Give all we have to God.

Giving doesn't always look the same. The runners in New York gave their time and their physical abilities to get supplies to people who needed them. Now I want to share with you a story that those who have gone on the mission trip were blessed to hear. It's a very special experience that a man named Laramie had after the tornado in Joplin. Laramie attends a United Methodist Church in Joplin and through an interesting connection another family from one of the southern states heard about Laramie and his family losing everything and they wanted to help out. So the church arranged for this family to meet Laramie. Laramie and a representative of the church were waiting for this family when a beat up old RV spewing out black smoke pulls up. Laramie questions the church coordinator, is this really the family that wants to help us? We can't take help from them, they need it more. The church coordinator insists he will take their help since they drove all this way to meet him and offer their gifts.

The father jumps out of the RV smiling and excited. He introduces his wife and then the children come out of the vehicle. The husband and wife had adopted several children, one was missing limbs. Each member of the family presented Laramie with the gift of money, then the little boy (around 5 or so) had a special treat for Laramie. He asked, do you like cars? Laramie answered, yes. And the little boy pulled some toy cars of his he had cleaned up for Laramie's kids. Laramie thanked him and declined the gift, he had girls and they weren't much into cars. The little boy insisted saying, maybe you can play with them then. All the family members gave him hugs and best wishes. As they readied to continue on their way to help out another family, Laramie stopped the man and asked why he was helping him out since their family could clearly use the money for themselves. The man looked him in the eye and said something that Laramie will never forget, "If you see someone in need and you don't help them then shame on you and if I see someone in need and don't help them shame on me." With that the man got in his car and drove away. Laramie shared with the mission trip group that he had never seen a more beautiful family.

When we give to the glory of God to help the children of God we richly bless others and in turn receive a blessing. As the widow gave all she had to God, we are to give all that we have, all that we are to the glory of God.