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