By Doris H. Williams
Editor’s note: This post was taken from a stewardship temple talk given on Sept. 30, 2012.
In the 15th chapter of John, Jesus said, “This is my commandment that you love one another as I have loved you.”
I had the privilege of growing up in an amazingly loving and caring family that was always expressing that love to each other, friends, neighbors and strangers. Let me give you a few examples of that love:
There were children who would find their way to our door and ask for food or money. Without hesitation or questions, my father gave. He gave allowances to the daughters of a single parent so they could have their own spending money. If while driving he saw someone walking, he would pick him or her up and take them to their destination.
When my dad’s brother, sister and aunt became ill, we took them into our home and cared for them. During Thanksgiving and Christmas, my mother would prepare loads of food and invite family, friends and those that I did not know to share the bounty of fellowship. And of course they all went home with an extra plate. During the Montgomery bus boycott, my dad went the extra mile to transport some of my friends to school.
Most vividly, I can recall my dad giving me money to take my friends to a local restaurant for dinner. We didn’t use credit cards in the 1950s so he gave me enough money for dinner and a sizable tip. The next morning he asked how everything went. I said fine. He then asked, “How much tip did you leave.” I said, “I didn’t leave anything.” Well, he proceeded to give what we called in those days in the South: “Down the country.” He was upset not only because he had given me the money for a sufficient tip but because he knew how important tips were to the economic well-being of the person who served us. Believe me, I have been appropriately tipping ever since.
I share these stories with you because they shaped my humanity. Just as I, you had experiences in your life that fostered your desire to give. We have done much, but there is much more to do. The conditions of poverty, unemployment or underemployment, children being neglected or abused, families going to bed with empty stomachs, families who aren’t sure where they will sleep tonight, senior shut-ins needing attention/care/companionship and young people needing support in order to accomplish their goals and be successful still prevail.
We are a blessed people. We are a loved people. Let us honor our blessings and respond to God’s love by sharing our time, with your generosity, talents and resources with others. We can continue to make a difference.
It is in giving that we receive; it is in receiving that we inherit eternal life.
Let’s say a resounding YES to our Lord’s call to serve others.