We are a multigenerational, social justice-oriented community of joyful, imperfect people who welcome absolutely everybody with hospitality, openness and acceptance.

The dilemma of an unexpected great gift

Dear friends,

Have you ever been given such a great gift that you hardly knew what to do with it? This week in Celebration, Kristin talked about the gift of a (literal) bucket full of food when she was hungry, and during the weeks to come you will be hearing more stories from church members as part of our stewardship season. Here’s a tiny story of my own.

It was 2005 and my sister and I were getting ready to go to Uganda. Enthusiastic, we wrote fundraising letters, mailed them to our friends and family, and quickly reached our fundraising goal of $2,000. We were aiming to provide new school shoes for any of the kids under care of Children of Uganda who needed them. Then R and S, two beloved young adults who had been our Sunday School teachers until they moved away a few years before, emailed us just before we left for Uganda:

From: R&S

To: C&T

Put us down for $1,000. We’ll send it to the office.

From: C&T

To: R&S

??? Did you put an extra 0 in by accident???

From: R&S

To: C&T

All our love =)

We were blown away, and for a bit we found ourselves baffled and perplexed as to what we’d do, once we reached and soundly passed our fundraising goal. We ended up spending plenty of money on shoes and such for the kids, and invested some more in creating a small library for the school. It was a really, really good problem to have.

I caught up with our surprise benefactors later, and they explained that they had started putting money aside on a monthly basis and letting it accumulate so they could do creative and unusual giving, beyond their regular charitable commitments.  I never forgot their example, and I’m hoping to be financially wise enough that I can also, someday, blow the mind of a young do-gooder on a fundraising kick.

Our Presbytery recently has decided to tithe a certain fund, set aside for new mission projects, by offering $5,000 to each church in the region to use for new mission projects. I feel a little baffled by this, but I hope it’s a feeling of bafflement for the better, like when we had to figure out what to do when the shoes were all purchased and there was still money left. I feel a pang, now, as I realize I haven’t been dreaming big about what MPC could do for a local mission project. This gift is an odd-sized amount – huge in a way, tiny in another way – but it challenges us, and for that reason I’m excited.

My prayer for us in this stewardship season is that we would spur one another on to generosity as we are able, that we would cast our visions far and near, and find as many ways as we can to participate in God’s generous and self-giving love.

Every Blessing,