Reflection on Lord’s Acre Celebration – November 22, 2015

Reflection for Lord’s Acre

2 Corinthians 9:6-12


“God loves a cheerful giver.” Do you remember the circumstances of the first time you heard that and understood it? I do. I must have been six or seven years old. It was one of those days during the summer break from school that I got to spend with my grandfather. He was a dairy and poultry farmer…a few miles out of a small town in upstate New York. We lived in a ramshackle house…that has since fallen down…right next to his farm. It was the day that he drove to the big city of Syracuse in his 20 year old truck to deliver fresh eggs. Let me say a few words about my grandfather. As far as I know he never went to church. The closest church was in the town about five miles away…but he was a dairy farmer who milked his 60 cows by hand every morning and afternoon. He was tired on Sunday mornings. And…even though gas was 25 cents a gallon…it was a luxury to go to town for anything. He was not wealthy. He had seven daughters. When his widow died each of the six surviving daughters had to pay about a thousand dollars to settle the farm debts after the buildings and property were sold. They considered it a small price to pay for the generous love their father had shown them. I had been on this trip with my grandfather several times…and noticed that he gave a piece of paper to everyone who received his eggs…with one exception. He gave a piece of paper to the folks who ran the fancy country club…the folks at the fine hotel…and the people at the big hospital. But…he never gave a piece of paper to the people at the orphanage. They got more of his fresh eggs than any other customer. The orphanage was always the first stop on his weekly trek to Syracuse. On this trip I noticed he didn’t give the orphanage a piece of paper. I asked why. He said the paper was a bill…that the people who received the paper had to pay my grandfather for the eggs he had delivered. He said the people at the orphanage didn’t get a bill because they were doing God’s work…and my grandfather wanted to help them do God’s work because God had been generous to my grandfather. He said the best way he knew how to help was to give them the first fruits of his day of delivery. He then told me…”God loves a cheerful giver.”…and I saw a big smile on his face. I understood the message. As Paul promised the church at Corinth God had provided all that they needed to my grandfather and his family. My grandfather sowed abundantly …reaped abundantly…and shared abundantly. As I have had the opportunity to study Paul’s letters to the church at Corinth…and learn from some great teachers…I have discovered that this gem of instruction is only part of a much larger message that Paul was communicating. You see…Paul’s letters to the church at Corinth were about reconciliation…repairing and overcoming breaks in their relationships with each other…with their community…with Paul…and with God. That reconciliation began with reaching out with sincerity…humility and generosity. Today I ask you to pause in your time of thanksgiving to ask where reconciliation might be needed. Relationships within your family…at a workplace …in the community…within your church family. Where has there been hurt…anger…loss of trust? What hurt…anger…loss of trust can you give to God? Where it exists reach out to the source…reach out in humble…sincere…faith-filled love…and generously share…share as generously as God has shared with you…as God shared with my grandfather. And, know this: God not only loves the cheerful giver. God is a cheerful giver.