Monday, September 24, 2012

Joyfully Generous

Dear Divinity Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Our Divinity Food Pantry, the room between our fellowship hall (gym) and Tricia’s office, has seen a lot of action in recent months. Our Parish Health Ministry (mostly volunteer nurses) keeps a freezer in our pantry. On a recent Friday night, two of our nurses were making homemade soup in our kitchen to put in our freezer in our pantry. They have done this before, so that when Divinity mem-bers come in for food from our shelves, I can also give them a frozen container of homemade soup, which is much appreciated. Our nurses have also cooked up containers of frozen lasagna, meatloaf, etc. in the past to be handed out to our brothers and sisters in need.

My family happened to arrive on that Friday night to get our directory picture taken just as they were ready to put their soup containers in the freezer. When Marti lifted up the freezer door, the bottom of the freezer was covered with six large foil trays of frozen chicken marked 9/9 — Redeemer. Obviously, the mother-daughter cooking team of Donna DeVault and Debbie Youngmann wouldn’t be available on the 9th and had prepared the main course early. Our Divinity servants have been preparing and serving the 2nd Sunday of the month Redeemer Crisis Center meal for longer than my 9 Divinity years. I advised Marti to stack their soup containers around and on top as we could dig out the large trays of chicken when the time came.

I get to experience the “sadness” when our members’ Social Security checks have run out with a week to go or a job has been lost and then the “abundant joy” of those who give to our pantry or Redeemer, and the joy from those who receive those gifts.

When Jan Jasko, who serves on the Redeemer Crisis Center’s board of directors, stopped by Divinity to pick up two computers that had been donated by one of us to the crisis center, I helped fill her trunk with backpacks, school supplies, clothing, and books that were all given out of our “overflowing generosity.”

It is my hope that as we bring our annual commitment cards to the baptismal font on November 4th, we will do so out of “overflowing generosity and abundant joy” as we continue to support and grow our Divinity ministry.

St. Paul describes the abundant joy and overflowing generosity of the first century church in 2 Corin-thians 8:1-7:
We want you to know, brothers and sisters, about the grace of God that has been granted to the churches of Macedonia; 2for during a severe ordeal of affliction, their abundant joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. 3For, as I can testify, they voluntarily gave ac-cording to their means, and even beyond their means, 4begging us earnestly for the privilege of shar-ing in this ministry to the saints — 5and this, not merely as we expected; they gave themselves first to the Lord and, by the will of God, to us, 6so that we might urge Titus that, as he had already made a beginning, so he should also complete this generous undertaking among you. 7Now as you excel in everything — in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness, and in our love for you — so we want you to excel also in this generous undertaking.

Join with me in being “joyfully generous.”

Pastor Doug