Tag Archives: generosity

A Reminder of Carol Penner’s Generosity (Guest Post)

Friends of The First Mennonite, you may recall that our former pastor Carol Penner recently donated one of her kidneys.  She documented her thoughts in a personal blog and mentioned them in this space as well.  She also participated in a public radio program called Living Out Loud that shares exceptional stories.  The program has just been released and you can listen to it online.

The Story of Carol Penner’s Undesignated Kidney Donation:

Have an inspiring Day!
Nathan Scott

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A common question

This week I’ve been reading about the early Anabaptists. They wanted to put their faith into practice, and to take seriously the witness of the early church from the book of Acts, where people held things in common.

The problem was that this turned out to be a very dangerous thing to do. Some Anabaptists were very generous to members of their congregation and the broader community. Other Anabaptist groups shared all their possessions with each other, and held things in common. The Anabaptists were preaching that Christians should not keep their wealth to themselves. God required that they share. Government authorities were alarmed. Was this a judgement upon them, that they should be required to give up their wealth? They were Christians too! The Anabaptists tried to explain that when God changes your heart, you want to give things away.

What does this mean for our generosity and offerings? Do we wait for our hearts to be changed, so that we want to give away more and more? Or does the action of giving actually change our hearts? Perhaps it’s the old common question, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?”

This week’s prayer: Lord, how much should I give? How much does my heart need to change?

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Almighty presents

Today I was in the Superstore, and ran into two teenage brothers that I know. They were looking for oven mitts for a Christmas present for their mom. But they had not found the perfect oven mitts, so they were empty-handed. “Too many plain oven mitts in this store,” they complained. “Our mom specifically asked for cute oven mitts.” I suggested that in addition to the cute oven mitts that they would hopefully find, they give a coupon book, “One argument-free day,” “One home-cooked dinner, including washing the dishes.” The teenage boy’s face lit up, “I bet she’d like a coupon that said, ‘One cleaned up bedroom.’!”

This week you may find yourself in a Big Box Store looking for the perfect gift. As you stand there, staring down the long aisle that stretches to infinity, ask yourself, “What am I doing here?” Hopefully the answer is, “I’m looking for a gift that will be useful for someone I love, or that will bring a smile to their face, as a token of my love for them.” Hopefully it’s not, “I’ve got to spent X amount of dollars or people will think I’m cheap,” or “They don’t need a thing, but I have to get them this useless present anyway.” Maybe it’s time to think outside the Box, and get them a different sort of gift. There’s still time to purchase a loving gift, a donation to MCC , donate.mcc.org/christmas-giving, or think of your own coupon book.

With all this gift giving going on, I was wondering today about whether I am going to give God a Christmas present. I never really had God on my list before. That’s all I need, more stress…talk about trying to find a gift for Someone who has everything!

But maybe a coupon book. Hmmm…what would God want? “One day where I think only of others.” Wait, maybe that’s not realistic. “One hour where I think only of others.” Or I wonder if I could follow through on, “One day where I say thank you for everything you give me.” How about , “One Christmas season where I say only positive things about others.” “An extra gift to Community Care to help people who can’t pay their electricity bills.” The more I think about it, the more I realize God doesn’t have everything God wants after all. There’s a long wish list there!

Why not put God on your Christmas list this year? After all, I think God will be giving you a gift on Christmas.

Forgive me God for the times where I lose sight of what gift-giving is about. I want to give good gifts. Let this Christmas be one where I give myself generously, freely, lovingly.

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