Five days ago my dad and sister and I ran through the cold streets of Appleton, Wisconsin, my mom put a turkey in the oven, and all 12 of my family members put our knees under one table. As the pastor in the family, I was invited to offer the Thanksgiving prayer. I prayed that while the members of our family have differences of opinion, beliefs, and philosophy, that we are thankful that we remain one family. To say thank you is the simplest and purest form of prayer. However, to live a full life is not only to focus on the “thanks” part of the holiday but to also live into the invitation of “giving”. Gratitude opens our eyes to recognize the source of our gifts, giving opens our hearts to learn what it means to love one another.
I am blessed beyond measure, not because of the ridiculous number of titles attached to my name, but because of the opportunity I will have today to give to others. This morning, I will see a couple of hundred people worship together and shop in the Free Store. I will see a kitchen full of people learning to cook. I will share thousands of pounds of produce with over 100 families. I will watch a community of 200+ people come together tonight at the weekly community meal at the Reeb Avenue Center. My job is to share the gifts of God’s grace with others and I have the incredible blessing of doing that with hundreds of people every day.
The full meaning of life not found in being a mere recipient of grace, but in being a practitioner of grace.
Today is #GivingTuesday. Five days ago we offered thanks for all that we have. Today, we are reminded to give to one another as we have received. You can give financially (click here to contribute to my missionary fund), you can give of your time, you can give of your self. Today, find one tangible way that you can give to someone else without any expectation of return. Open your hands, open your arms, open your heart. In doing so, you will discover that the familiar words ring true: it is more blessed to give than to receive