Sunday, October 05, 2014

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Since 1998, our school has raised money to help build and sustain orphanages in Haiti and Honduras. Not all the money comes from our Westbury Christian School family, as you will see in this post from July 22, 2007. It's amazing how God finds ways to fund our needs and good deeds.

As I walked into the lobby before worship this morning, Rosemary stuck $25 in my hand. A Chinese lady in our church crochets baby blankets to sell, with the proceeds going to our Honduras work at school. Rosemary acts as a retail outlet for me and she had just sold the last blanket. As I sat down in the pew, Marie gave me a bubble-wrapped telephone to replace my old wall version. (The digit 3 sometimes balks when pushed.) When I entered Chinese worship after our English service, Lucy presented me with a Ziploc bag of pennies, also for the orphanages in Honduras. No sooner had I expressed my gratitude than Ronny and Jenny handed me a gift bag containing a white dress shirt. If the morning had gone on much longer, I would have needed a shopping cart. Paul quotes Jesus in Acts with saying, "It is more blessed to give than receive." I hope there is a little wiggle room in the Lord's pronouncement because I was way ahead on the receiving end today!

I would be lying if I said I don't enjoy receiving presents from others. Sometimes the smaller and more sentimental, the better. Has someone ever blessed you with a gift and it changed the course of your life? Currently, I'm reading a biography of Harper Lee, thanks to a recommendation from my brother, Dave, and a Border's gift card from Nicole, one of my Lady Wildcat basketball players. Lee, noted for authoring the magnificent To Kill A Mockingbird, was a struggling writer living in New York, working full-time and writing when possible. One Christmas, unable to return home to Alabama, Lee was asked to spend the holidays with friends. To her shock and amazement, they gave her a gift that would change her life and the history of American literature. Inside the envelope was the offer of one year free from working so she could focus on writing. They would pay her bills and she would write. Nelle Harper Lee accepted and the world became acquainted with Atticus Finch, Jem and Scout, Tom Robinson, and Boo Radley. What satisfaction that couple must have felt when To Kill A Mockingbird became a best seller and the movie version garnered three Academy Awards. Maybe someday I can give a present like that! 

I've been on the receiving end of gifts that have changed my life. When I made my first trip to Honduras, anonymous Christians paid my way. When I traveled to Haiti on a mission trip, my expenses were covered by someone I've never met. Three weeks ago, I found out a lady I don't know has donated all the money allowing me to go with our mission team to China next summer. My life, like Harper Lee's, has changed forever because of the kindness of others. Her gift resulted in changed perceptions of race and prejudice in our country. I will be thrilled if my gifts just help me change myself, and in doing so, help me influence the lives of others.

Applicable quote of the day:
"What I had, I gave. What I had left, I lost forever."
Marion Stallings (taken from The Right Kind Of Heroes.)

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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1 comment:

Elissa said...

A beautiful post. You made my eyes leak! I am defiantly going to be reading that book and thinking a lot more deliberately about the little things I can give.