Rather than shopaholics, let’s be givaholics. Let’s get drunk on giving thanks and praise, giving love like the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet with expensive perfume and wiped them with her hair. Let’s give of our poverty like the widow who gave her last two coins. Let’s give of our wealth cheerfully, radically, unconditionally.
A small sign and box near the doorway from The Bellfry describes three ministries–International Justice Mission, World Vision International and Amistad in Bolivia–offering guests the joy of giving $50 for each night they were privileged to stay at the retreat lodge.
A DC Child & Family Services caseworker offers our congregation the joy of giving not only Christmas presents and food, but time and presence with children and caregivers.
“Give, said the little stream, Give, O give; Give, O give. Give said the little stream as it hurried down the hill. I’m small I know, but wherever I go the fields grow greener still. Singing, singing all the day, Give away, O give away. Singing, singing all the day, Give, O give away.” Fanny Crosby’s words from this old Let Youth Praise Him hymnal still ring in my mind 50+ years after I sang them in grade school. I still play them on the piano around this time of year.
“Give, said the little stream” seems like a good substitute for “Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream.” Life is not “but a dream”. It’s hard to row gently and merrily when there are people who need six or more prescriptions daily, not to mention those whose lives are constant nightmares due to kidnapping, rape, starvation, and/ or endless war.
Yesterday noon GIVES called. Someone needed someone to pick up prescriptions at Giant, and I was glad for free time to do it right away. GIVES (Greenbelt Intergenerational Volunteer Exchange Service) is a local, organized way to give and receive needed assistance. “One service credit is earned for each hour of service performed and one credit spent for each hour received. However, the inability to earn credits will not make anyone ineligible to receive service.” Services range from telephone reassurance, companionship or tutoring to house or yard work, transportation and more.
Giving and receiving are two sides of the same gracious hand. Both blessed by the One from whom all blessings flow (see pages 120-126 in Mulled Words: A Word a Week from God’s Word).