I was raised in a home that was very hospitable. We hosted bridge parties, Staff parities, Christmas parties, birthday parties, and all together general parties! My parents were willing to let Justin live in the basement of their house after he graduated and before we were married. Maybe this was to keep an eye on him or to see me more! They host an annual 4th of July party for the family in which their house is basically over run by people!
My parents have always been generous in their giving and selfless with their possessions. So it does not come as a surprise to me that I also have learned this lesson in generosity and hospitality.
I also remember my parents always having a tithe check. And I never remember being without anything that we needed or really that we wanted. This value was also handed down to me.
I must admit though that even though I have had the value handed down to me and generally practice this value; I too struggle with wanting to hold onto the things I have. I find it difficult to remember to write the tithe check or sign up for the online giving. I often think, “Here we go again.” when someone starts asking for money.
I too am a skeptic when it comes to how money is handled. I too get tired of the constant ask for money. I too turn my back on organizations and even people who need help or who I could help.
I too struggle with wanting to hold onto the things I have.
Every year, especially during winter, I struggle with what to do with the homeless. As I come to a corner where someone is standing holding a sign I turn my head, or look down so I seem busy. I keep my sunglasses on and don’t make eye contact.
While I don’t think it is my duty to help every homeless person or to give to every organization I do believe God calls us to not be selfish. Jesus calls us to hold our hands open to receive the gifts he has for us and to allow others to take and use those gifts freely.
When I am able to hold on lightly to the things of this world I see the blessings of this in the lives of those around me and I see blessings in my life. I actually have less stress when I worry about the money or things of my life. I see the benefits of teaching my children to have open hands with their possessions. I am able to point to the benefits and blessings that God has bestowed on me with out thinking I had anything to do with them.
Jesus calls us to hold our hands open to receive the gifts he has for us and to allow others to take and use those gifts freely.
The next time I drive to a corner with a homeless person holding a sign I will at least be generous in my acknowledgment of them as a person. I may not have anything to give them and I may not be able to give to every organization, but I can respect them and give as I feel called. When the church talks about money and supporting the mission I can renew my commitment both in time and money with a joyful heart and open hands.
As I keep my hands open I will receive blessings beyond imagination and I will allow myself to be used as a blessing to others.
On May 16 at 6 p.m. St. Luke will host their annual Celebration and Giving Extravaganza. If you are not able to attend you can give online. Keep your hands open and see what God does in your life!