Yield to Generosity
Kathy Sharp, Mission Funding Council member
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back. -Luke 6:38
When my husband and I fell in love, our college friends and professors were puzzled by our attraction. We were so different. He was serious, cautious, introverted and grounded in data. I was…well, not that!
Our first year of married life, as college seniors, was a financial struggle. We both worked and saved money before our wedding and received scholarships while going to school full time. Our families, living hundreds of miles away, didn’t know we had trouble paying for rent, utilities, and groceries. For a few months, we supplemented our grocery budget with food stamps, a U.S. government program for those who could prove financial need. Neither of our families had ever used government aid for basic living before. We felt awkward when we handed the coupons to the grocery clerk as she rang up our groceries at the cash register.
After graduation, we were hired for good professional jobs. But there was a gap of a few months before our jobs started, and then 30 days more before we received our first paychecks. With little financial reserves left after securing our new apartment, we drove across country to stay with friends and family that would feed us for a few weeks. The cost of gasoline (much cheaper than today!) could go on a credit card to be paid back later.
Grocery stores only took cash in those days. During those no-income months, a much older church couple, sensing our need, treated us to a much-appreciated round of mini-golf and ice cream.
Receiving generosity from others during our financial hardship humbled and bonded us as a couple to be ambassadors of unexpected generosity years later. Reflecting on our 49 years of marriage, some of our most enriching experiences happened when we received from or gave to others. We witness the unmistakable nudging of the Holy Spirit flowing freely throughout this cycle. We experience joy and wonder that God uses all of us to help others: individuals, families, organizations, communities, and, of course, our church. Looking back, I guess my husband and I share one important trait after all: a willingness to yield to generosity.
For six weeks, the Generosity Cycle provides an annual opportunity to intentionally move together through a season of generosity. The four phases of the Generosity Cycle: Invite, Discover, Respond and Reflect encourage us to remember God’s extravagant grace and generosity, to discover a deeper joy in living Christ’s mission, and to respond through whole-life stewardship as we reflect on our lives as generous disciples. You can find more information about how to participate here.
God, help me seek peace for me, peace for us, peace for everyone, and peace for our planet. Amen.
The International Community
Find (or imagine) a globe or map of the world. Look at all the nations and find a country other than your own. Notice the geographic distance between your homeland and this one. Picture a person living there. Pray for this person. Sense God’s love connecting you just as the oceans connect the continents. Thank God for the spiritual connection you have with all of God’s people around the globe. Ask a blessing on the church as a community sharing Christ’s peace, drawing all into the family of God.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.