Both Getting and Giving

8 Nov

An All-You-Can-Eat Buffet, Of Candy That You Take Home To Eat

“A smorgasbord of candy of endless variety,” is what Ed said that his grandchildren received in Edmonton, on Halloween. They were excited about being able to serve themselves to various candies, chocolate bars, and chips at almost every door. My old neighbor said it was like an all-you-can-eat buffet that the children got to take home. I agreed with Ed that at Halloween folks do generously and gladly offer treats to the children who appear at their door.

Ed said that no one minds giving some candy once a year to kids. Giving once a year motivates more response than when compared to donating once a month or once a week. It has been my experience that in various congregations, an annual Thanksgiving Food Drive, for the local food bank yielded the most generous giving. Ed said that was because everyone is ready to give the foodstuff in their cupboards that nobody likes after about a year of it taking up space.  

Food Banks do sometimes get non-perishable food that people won’t miss from their cupboards or nobody likes. The cans sometimes are out of date, as was the case reported at a Cardiff Wales food bank. They received a can of soup, Heinz kidney soup that was 46 years old and that type of soup had been discontinued more than 35 years before. In the same donation was a can of Green Giant corn whose label showed it had been canned in the 1980s.

People may not mind giving a little candy once a year to children, but they may object very much to giving to others in general. The prevailing thought is that people should work and take care of themselves. Many people quote from the Bible; “If a man will not work. He shall not eat.” This scripture is not all the Bible says about what we have and what we give. We may tend to forget that our entire lives and that of everyone else depend on God. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous.

It is God who makes the earth fruitful and blesses us with the ability to work for the things we need. What we have is a blessing from God not merely our personal achievements. It is God who gives us a thankful and humble heart willing to share with those who are unable to work or who are in need.  It is the Lord who gives us what we need, and we share with others because we trust in His care of us. It is God who gives us our daily bread.

It takes no effort to be selfish and greedy, and dismiss the hunger of others. Giving once a year to the food bank ignores the truth that people get hungry every day. The Lord always knows what we have left when we offer our donations. If we give what we will not miss, was it sharing with or caring for others? Our lives do not depend on what we have. They depend on God who gives what we need for our lives and perhaps we often have more than enough to share with others.

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