Pass the…Plate

Brothers and sisters, we want to let you know about the grace of God that was given to the churches of Macedonia. While they were being tested by many problems, their extra amount of happiness and their extreme poverty resulted in a surplus of rich generosity. I assure you that they gave what they could afford and even more than they could afford, and they did it voluntarily. They urgently begged us for the privilege of sharing in this service for the saints. They even exceeded our expectations, because they gave themselves to the Lord first and to us, consistent with God’s will (2 Corinthians 8:1-5, Common English Bible).

This is part 13 in the November Thanksgiving series, “Pass the…” for a listing on the other posts please see the index.

No, we haven’t been eating directly off the table but in retrospect, perhaps this should have been one of the first posts instead of where we are now which is around the middle of the month. Oh, well.

It isn’t really that big of a deal except to say, most all of us tend to put generous portions on our Thanksgiving plates. Are we just as generous in other aspects of our lives? For many of us the answer is, no, not really.

We are square in the middle of the biggest generosity time of the year. It is a time when many of us give thought to the needs of others and try to reach out in a tangible way. Our way may be by giving money. It may be by making donations of food or in the next month or so, Christmas gifts to children. The list could go on.

I think just about every church where I have been pastor there have been at least a couple of drives to help. There are food drives. I have had churches that collected and gave those in need turkeys, potatoes, canned goods and more.

There are also the Christmas gift drives, particularly Christmas gifts for children. Again, the churches I have served have done everything from adopting a number of angels from the Salvation Army’s angel tree program to leading the way in all-out community efforts to take care of children to partnering with the Marine Corp League (for Toys for Tots), Prison Fellowship (Angel Tree) or some other such organization that is out working to make a difference in the lives of children.

It is also no secret that in the months of October through December charitable giving to these organizations (and to the church) increases significantly. People are in a generous mood and respond in ways to help.

I know we are right square in the middle of the time period I talked about above. We are in the middle of the generosity time of year. And, when January or May or July roll around again you may not remember what I wrote here, but I am going to say it anyway. We need to remember our generous habits, whether to the church or other important charitable organizations throughout the rest of the year too. Needs are no less real in August than they are in November. In fact, because giving is so down at other times of the year, generosity may even be more important. People are just as hungry in March and July as they are in November.

Our generosity in our finances also shouldn’t be all our generosity. At this time of the year people will come and visit, help with craft activities, put on programs and more in places like nursing homes. Then once we are past Christmas, the hallways are empty of visitors. It is a stark contrast. People are still lonely in June.

My appeal here is to your generosity. It is somewhat about your generosity now, but it is even more about your generosity throughout the entire year. What we give today is important but what we give during the other nine months of the year is just as important, especially to those in need.

Plus, consider this, our generosity is a thanksgiving to God for all God has blessed us with. How thankful are you.

Pass me the plate. May I be more generous there than I am with the portions I place on my Thanksgiving plate.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Grace and Peace,

Copyright 2016, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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