Because I am an avid, albeit slow, triathlete, I have had literally a dozen people send me the inspirational story of Rick and Dick Hoyt. It is an amazing account of a bond between father and son that speaks about the power of love and mutual astonishing generosity. (The topic of this latest series of blog posts.)
In my sermon yesterday, I shared about how our multi-generational worship services were the result of a legacy of inspirational lives and generous giving through a few specific stories. I want also want to share some other stories that come right out of the life of our church. For the next two weeks, our church services will be filled with story telling and it is our hope that through these stories, we’ll continue to grow together in what it means to become a “contagious community of astonishing generosity.” But I also want to share these stories here on the blog.
- Like the elder in our church who had a homeless woman ask her what time it is and she felt the Spirit prompting her “Don’t just tell her the time, give her your watch.” So she did.
- Or the men who have done beautiful wood-work around the church, serving with their own two hands. One of the men also built the shelves that hold the projectors for our big church screens. When our worship director thanked him and told him the big difference that it would make for our contemporary service, he replied, “I don’t much care for that kind of worship service, but if it blesses others, then I’m glad to help out.”
- Or the woman in our church who for several years now has given our church staff a beautiful Christmas lunch at a nice restaurant just to thank the staff for their service.
- Or the man who quietly tends for our flowers and plants on the church grounds.
- Or the family that has given such a high proportion of their income to the Lord’s work that the I.R.S. can’t believe that anyone could be so “astonishingly” generous.
- Or the over forty men in our church who take turns driving one man, who two years ago became a quadriplegic through a diving accident, an hour each way to San Diego, three times a week so that when he goes for physical therapy, he doesn’t have to go alone.
- Or the couple who pledged $60,000 to a new fund that will help young adults who are willing to serve with our mission partners for two-year-long short term mission experiences.
- Or the over 250 people from our church who did an “extreme home makeover” of the home of one of our associate pastors while she was going through chemotherapy.
- Or the woman who started the “Give it Away Fund” a special account that we keep just to care for people in need. She literally said to me, “Here is some money that I think God wants me to give away to care for others. Would you make a fund for others to join me in it? If you or the other pastors see a need, then, well, give this money away.”
- Or the couple that set a personal goal of giving to the Lord’s work as much money each year as the government takes in taxes.
- Or the teenager who set up a booth during the monthly crafts fair in our downtown to earn money to send to our Malawi ministry in Africa.
- Or the women’s group that makes quilts for anyone in our church who is going through a hard time and needs to be reminded of the warmth and comfort of God. (Members of the church tie the finishing knots on the quilt and pray for the person so that it becomes, literally, a prayer quilt, wrapping the person in the prayers of the community.)
- Or the dozens of people who will provide, cook and serve Thanksgiving meals for the Marines at Camp Pendleton.
- Or the cycling group that moved a young couple from one apartment to another because their baby was born unexpectedly on the day that they needed to be out of their apartment.
I know there are others, and indeed, some may be more astonishing than others, but maybe my posting these will lead others to post some of the ones I missed. Mostly, what I hope is that we’ll begin to realize just how contagious generosity can be.