“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35b
I learned those words as a child and know them to be absolutely true. We ARE very blessed when we have the privilege of giving, and I hope I will always be a giver. But, in recent days, Steve and I have been the receivers of acts of kindness that have blessed us, encouraged us and lifted our spirits.
A few days ago, a long-time friend showed up at our door with this casserole.
We learned that First Baptist of Hartselle has a Casserole Ministry. Yes, a Casserole Ministry. Several ladies in the church keep a freezer filled with a variety of casseroles in disposable pans ready to be delivered to couples with a new baby, someone who has been sick, someone who has experienced a crisis, or NEWCOMERS. Yay!!! Some do the cooking, others do the delivering, and yet others get to do the eating. What a great idea!! I was particularly grateful for this casserole because I was facing a day of writing deadlines, yet suddenly I had the main part of our supper thawing on the counter. It was comfort food in every sense of the term.
The day that all of our furniture was moved out of our house in Athens, our good friends and neighbors across the street said, “Come over for supper when everything is loaded. We’ll have something simple to eat before you leave the neighborhood.” How nice to not have to go searching for food when we were bone-tired and looking very bedraggled. It was thoughtful, helpful and extremely kind.
A few nights before that, our great Sunday School class surprised us with a barbecue and all the trimmings. We thought we were just going to our neighbors’ for a casual meal but arrived to find a dozen smiling faces. Not only did they feed us (and send us home with leftovers), they also gave us cards which we realized later contained gift cards to restaurants and to Lowe’s. A perfect gesture to help us during the stressful transition days.
My beloved fellow choir members gave me a grand piano music box as a going-away gift. It is carefully packed away in a safe place awaiting a spot of honor when the new house is finished. I know I will always look at it and smile.
Such thoughtful actions. Each one special and perfectly-timed. So many examples of God supplying the needs of our bodies and of our hearts through His servants. All of the givers in these cases, were indeed “cheerful givers.”
2 Corinthians 9:7 “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
As you might expect, these acts of kindness have caused me to think about what my response should be, and I have realized there are two take-aways:
- Be (and STAY) grateful. Grateful to the person or people who carried out the kindnesses and grateful to God for putting us on their hearts and giving them the desire to minister to us.
- Pay it forward. I pray that as a result of all we’ve felt and experienced in the past month, I will be more keenly aware of what others are needing. I believe the best thank-you I can give to those who have blessed us will be to bless others in the future.
Amelia Earhart said, “A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.”
Scott Adams said, “Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.”
So, thank you, friends for giving to us. We will do our best to minister to others following your examples.