My first year at this church, when stewardship time rolled around, I had only been here a couple months. I wrote a newsletter column sharing the top ten things I am grateful for at this church. In fact, it was ten expressions of the one thing I was so struck by in my first couple months here: The spirit of generosity.
I’m going to do a re-boot of this list, because it amazes me how on the nose I was after only being here a short while (it actually kind of freaks me out a little). It is also a really great way to say “thank you” to all of you for embodying the spirit of generosity in amazing ways every single day. So, here it is, my 2005 and 2018 list of top ten things I’m grateful for:
Generosity of Spirit: The open heartedness one experiences when walking through the doors on a Sunday morning at this church is almost enough to knock you over.
Generosity of Time: It has been a true gift to me to watch how generous people are with their time at this church – with or without being asked. People see the church as an integral part of their whole lives. It is not just something we all fit into our busy schedules.
Generosity of Money: Our mission giving continues to grow, and when a need in the community arises, people give easily and joyfully. I find myself overwhelmed and amazed each time we take an offering. It is inspiring, it is amazing and it is a wonderful witness we make to a world often imprisoned by money.
Generosity of Love: Often when I go visit a member of our congregation, the person I visit tells me that someone else from our church “has just been here”, or “just stopped by with a cake”, or “just gave me a ride to the doctor”. This is not an occasional occurrence. It is the norm. It is wonderful!
Generosity of Hope: One of the main reasons I love church and need church is to remind me over and over again of the hope found in Jesus Christ. I find so many people here who truly believe that all things are possible with God.
Generosity of Talents: Not only do we burst at the seams with gifts and abilities, we let the seams rip open and unleash those gifts on our church, our community and our world. Everywhere I look, I see people realizing the unique and wonderful gifts they have been given by God and then finding ways to use them in service to others.
Generosity of Humor: Humor is one of the best gifts we can give each other and the world, and I find it here and find it often. I laugh a lot with you all, and enjoy the way this church is serious about faith, but doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Generosity of Forgiveness: If this church lacks anything, it is lacking in judgment of others. I have seen time and time again the difference unconditional love and forgiveness make in people’s lives, and believe this is an essential part of our ministry.
Generosity of Worship: I have loved worshipping with you all. I leave feeling like I have connected to God’s call for our lives, and like I can, with you all by my side, take whatever the next step is in living that call out.
Generosity of God: I am so grateful for God’s abundant gifts of creation, of laughter, of seasons and cycles, of song and poetry, of emotions and passions, and I am grateful for God’s gift of all of you. You inspire me to generosity and caring and for that I am truly thankful.