Getting to play basketball during the halftime at the local high school was going to be one of the highlights of my 5th grade basketball career. Picture the scene… the entire town at the game, cheering us on… and suddenly everyone running out of the gym. I felt confusion, disappointment, anger. Someone yelled “Brian, your house is on fire!” What!? You’re kidding, right? By the time the night was over, my house was gone, my stuff was gone, and I was putting up a good front. We lived in a small town, much like Medfield, and by the next day, the community had rallied around us. Money had been raised, household goods and clothing had been donated, and my friends had combed through their football card collections to give me a complete set from the recent season (this was a very big deal in the early 1980’s).
At the time, I didn’t understand this type of generosity. My little brain couldn’t comprehend my loving community’s response to our needs. In hindsight, it was a love born from God. We were members of a strong church community, very similar to UCC Medfield, in a town filled with lively and active churches. They were channeling God’s love directly to us.
Can you imagine what would happen if all church communities were as generous in good times as in times of need? What if we all embraced fully God’s desire for us to ‘love thy neighbor as thyself’? If you can’t love your neighbor, you cannot truly love God. As we have been discussing during this Stewardship season, one of the most prevalent examples of God’s love for us is His generosity and sacrificial giving, he calls us to act the same toward others. God does not reserve His generosity only during times of need, he offers it freely, and if we truly want to model His character, we need to follow suit.