Today was a day of receiving. Last week I had met a man in need of assistance as I sat working on my sermon at a coffee shop. I had taken him to get a food card and food from the pantry at my church and then went back and met his fiance who was in a neck brace from their car accident, which had left them without their wallets, without resources, without anything. I had also paid for an extra night in their hotel so they could stay without worry. There were plans for them to try and get home, but he had said he would try and make it to church if for some chance they were still here. So he called Saturday and asked if he could get a ride to church. I worked it out and he came with a big smile and hugged me and talked with me in the "reception line". Then today I got another call from him, he said they wanted to give a gift to the church, could I come by? I said of course and went to meet with them. They handed me an envelope when I got there and we talked and then I drove them to the bank. After dropping them at the bank I opened the envelope and found a VERY generous check to the church--expressing their thanks for our support in their time of need. Quite frankly, I was stunned. 5 days ago this couple couldn't afford breakfast and now that they had had a chance to get their things in order, they were overwhelmingly generous. I was floored! I put 1/2 of the money in the general fund and put the other 1/2 toward the pantry and our families in need ministries. I figured they had received due to the support of others toward those ministries, so it was only appropriate that they too offer support through their gift.
Also, our church has been doing a blanket ministry for about 7 months now. Some of our women who quilt gather monthly to make 36"x36" baby blankets. Simple doubled sided flannel or flannel and cotton. They go to the hospital, the police department, or the fire department. We have made close to 200 by now. The women are taking a break for the summer, partly due to travel plans, and partly because it is scorching hot here in the summer, and partly because it is time for a sabbath. But before they break, they had a silent auction with a quilt one of our women had pieced and another had quilted. We put the blanket out last week after worship and people started bidding, and then M (who organizes the quilting) talked with a friend and the friend also wanted to donate a quilt, so she did. So this week we had two quilts up for the silent auction--together they went for over $500! All of that money goes directly toward supplies for our baby blanket ministry!!
Then tonight my neighbors had me go over. They had gone to a university near by for one of their surplus sales--sort of a like a giant garage sale from what I gather. They had shown me the list of possible items yesterday and asked if I wanted them to pick anything up for me, I said the only thing would be a laser printer. So I went tonight and they had one for me. I tried to pay them for it, but they refused. They wanted to give me a gift. And they underscored their desire with, "and if you intend to take it only to turn around and give us another gift in exchange, we'll take the money!" It was so very sweet.
I am regularly amazed at how abundantly I have received. Being the youngest child I am not ashamed of hand-me-downs and I have received some very nice second hand gifts this year--things I certainly could not afford on my own (not now anyway)--and I am thankful. Ever thankful for the many many ways I have been blessed.