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May be an image of food
Cucumbers from the garden for the food pantry.

Maybe it is because I grew up on stories of service to others. My father and uncles talked about rescuing lost and injured hikers from the Davis Mountains in West Texas. I heard about my grandfather’s work as a lifeguard in Biloxi Bay. And they talked about my Grandmother’s Sunday dinners.

Sunday dinner as service? You know it. The family was poor but there was always room for one more person at the table. Biscuits could be stretched as could the pot of beans and various home grown vegetables. There was always food for whoever came to the table.

These stories came to mind when our pastor recently talked about service. He acknowleged the fatigue that we all have living during a pandemic. Yet, he encouraged us to get out and serve others. After all, our church offers three opportunities a month as we give out sack suppers or boxes of food from the local foodbank.

Admittedly, I didn’t really feel like doing it. It is hot and humid and and and . . .

But my husband got us all in the car and off we went. We spent three hours packaging up sack suppers and handing them out to passers by. We chatted with parents who just needed a break. There was a bus rider with vision problems who needed a bit of human connection. We even encountered one of the mom’s from the swim team my son used to belong to. Serving others helped us connect with our community. That’s #1.

Several days later, I found myself working in the community garden, again beside my husband. With all the rain we’ve been having, every other week we have to pull should-high grass from the various beds. We work for about an hour in the sunshine. We listen to birdsong. We wave to preschool teachers, landscapers and others off in the distance. When we are done, I feel so much more relaxed. Whether I’m packaging up food or working in the garden, service gets me off screen. And, really? How can that possibly be a bad thing. That’s #2.

Last week, our book club discussed Faith by Jimmy Carter. I expected the book to be about his Christian faith, and it was. But it was also about his faith in humanity. And service because, as he explained, how can you BELIEVE and not feel compelled to reach out. Service isn’t essential to salvation, grace takes care of that, but really? If you believe, service is an expression of that belief.

And, that, my friends is #3. Service shows others what you believe.

It’s been almost a week and I have to tell you. I’m finding myself once again drawing inward. It is time to get back out there to serve.

–SueBE

How much is enough?  That’s something I find myself considering every now and again.  I grew up in a two bedroom cottage.  Granted we had a basement and a garage but it wasn’t a huge home.  Yet four of us along with all of our stuff fit in it just fine.

Now I live in a three bedroom ranch with a double garage and full basement. There are three of us and I work at home.  But it’s a bigger home.  And yet, this house is full.

But when confronted with need, we get pissy.  “How dare the Pastor suggest we eat out less so that we can give more to the poor?”

It seems like the more we have, the less willing we are to share.  We are so worried that we might give it to someone undeserving, someone who is trying to scam us, someone who might squander it.

Or we might just change a life.  I read the perfect post about this earlier today at Sean of the South.

It doesn’t always take something huge to turn someone’s life around. Sometimes it just takes a small gift, a bit of mercy and faith.

–SueBE

 

 

I grew up on stories of Sunday dinner at my grandparents’.  They had very little. Sure Grandad had a college degree.  He was a mining engineer in a time when many American mines were playing out.  He took any job he could find, working in the mines when there were open, painting cars and managing a service station when they weren’t.

My grandmother had a huge garden and chickens.  You could do that in West Texas even when you lived in town.  Back then feed sacks were made from patterned fabric.  The girls got dresses from the prettiest.  Next up were shirts for the boys.  The least attractive fabrics became underwear.

Sunday dinner was a production.  The whole family was there and often there were several friends.  Whoever needed a meal.  Anyone who craved fellowship. All were welcome.  They’d just wedge another chair in around the circular table.  Chicken, corn, potatoes, biscuits, greens from the garden, corn bread, beans.

As little as they had, my grandparents shared.  Grandad always insisted it was a Southern thing.  I don’t know about that but I did get the rest of the message loud and clear.  What the good Lord gives us, we are meant to share.

At my grandparents’ table, no one ever went away hungry.  And there was also space enough to wedge in one more chair.

–SueBE

 

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”  (Matthew 19:23-24)

Why is it that we tend to hoard what we are given?  No, get back!  God gave it to me.

And yet our homes overflow.  We buy organizing supplies.  We pay people to show us how to declutter.  We rent storage space.

But share?  Suggest it and watch people’s hackles rise.  We worry about scammer and people who want to beg instead of earning a living.

Did we truly earn what we have?  Either our riches or God’s grace?  Both are gifts meant to be shared.

–SueBE

 

 

Holy Father,
So many things come into my orbit from day to day.
Help me to see what I should give space in my life
and what I should release so that it may benefit someone else.

Glossy magazines and Pins tell me
that I deserve more,
that I deserve the best,
that I have earned it.

Help me turn from this call to acquire.
Help me hear your voice
urging me to take only what I need
and pass on the rest,
as the crowd passed along
the loaves and fishes.
They found that they had
more than enough to share.

Let me be so aware.
Let me see that there is
more than enough to share.

Amen

 

 

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