Inspired by Steve Pierce’s blog at stewardship.or.uk
When Queen Victoria was staying at Balmoral the story goes that she was caught in the rain when walking and called at a cottage to borrow an umbrella. An irritated cottager, not recognizing her caller, offered a tatty umbrella. The next day a coachman returned the umbrella with her Majesty’s thanks. As he left he heard the cottager say, “If I had known who she was she could have had my best umbrella!”
Generosity flows when we sense that our gifts are making a real difference to people’s lives. Giving is transformed when it becomes part of our spiritual life. Our gifts would not be reluctant, squeezed by other financial or social pressures if we knew the one to whom we give and the reason that we must give.
In John chapter 4, Jesus asks a woman at a well for a drink and she starts a tense religious discussion about Jews and Samaritans. The simple request to give something provokes argument, defensiveness and religious disagreement! Ring any bells? All too often, our thinking around giving is caught up in the needs and emotions which preoccupy us. But Jesus replies to the woman, “If you knew the gift of God you would ask me for living water”. Giving is born out of receiving (Phil 4:15) and that is why gratitude is one of the most genuine and unassailable reasons for charitable giving. When we are asked to consider giving, do we recognize it as an invitation to the gift of grace? If we did, we would receive the gift with open hands. Our giving, but more importantly, our lives, would be transformed.
Transformation means change. Change is frightening – it’s new, it’s different. It takes effort to go through transformation. Think of the tried-and-true example of a butterfly struggling to escape the cocoon. Out of such struggle comes so much beauty. It can be frightening to take a leap to commit to giving. What if my hours are cut? What if I become ill? What if the economy takes a downward turn? But – what if by giving, you receive the gift of awareness and gratitude and involvement in lives that benefit from your gifts?
Gifts are not always monetary, although those gifts allow ministries to flourish where we cannot be present ourselves, for whatever reason. Gifts of time and talent are just as precious and this church would not exist without them. When you give your best from your grateful heart, you won’t have to say, “If I had known…” as the cottager did. Rather, you will say, “I know how much a good umbrella will help you in the rain, and I want you to have that protection.” Translate that to, “I know love and grace, and I want you to know it, too. I will share with you so you can know the joy that drives my gift.”
Where is your passion? What makes your heart hurt? Or grow warm? Where are you called to make a difference because of the difference God makes in your life? How can you be a giver of grace in difficult situations? How can you reach out from what you been given and share that love and grace with others? In heart-felt gratitude for your current situation, how can you express that gratitude in actions with others? Let’s think about how to share our gifts with others in ways that will make God’s difference in their lives.
Keizer Community Food Bank
4505 River Road N
One of our community outreach missions has been the JKPC Food Bank. Begun in 1989, it operated out of a closet in the Social Hall. In 2007, several other local churches joined the effort and the food bank changed its name to the KEIZER COMMUNITY FOOD BANK. Services were expanded to include a Monday evening distribution time for clients who could not come during the day. Due to need and increased community participation the food bank moved to its current premises at the neighboring Faith Lutheran Church on River Road in mid 2009.
Volunteers are always welcome at the Food Bank, and donations of food or money allow KCFB to continue to minister to the hungry in our community.
For information on how to help, contact Jim Johnson, Operations Manager, 503-931-7612
At John Knox we continue this ministry through donations of food, and through volunteers who stock the shelves on Wednesdays, and serve clients at the Thursday distribution. In 2017 we discerned there was a need for non-food items such aslaundry detergent, hand soap, dish detergent, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, paper towels, tissues, personal hygiene items, coffee, tea, and pet food.These items which are essential to running a healthy home either can not be purchased with the SNAP cards, or are not purchased with cash donations to the Food Bank.
SEPTEMBER FOCUS ITEMS
pet food, cat litter and other pet care items
John Knox Community Garden
“The Earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it.”
Since 2009, the Session & members of John Knox Presbyterian Church have freely provided the John Knox Community Garden (JKCG) to the community to:
nurture the growth of food for our gardeners, neighbors and community,
build and strengthen community
promote earth-friendly practices and sustainability through gardening.
Twenty-four plots averaging 15’x 15’ plus seven raised bed boxes, 4’x 12’ are gardened by community and church members, most of which return each year; however, a few spaces come available each season.
For available space, please contact the Garden coordinator, Mary Jo Emmett at email@example.com or call 503 930-0975.
Freely received, freely give” …
Congregations Helping People
600 State Street, Salem OR
P O Box 12412, Salem OR 97309
Congregations helping People (CHP) is a coalition of Salem and Keizer churches that works out of First United Methodist Church in downtown Salem to assist people with emergent financial needs. By combining our resources with others, we can help meet the needs of more people. At John Knox Presbyterian we save our change (and paper money too!), this our Christ Jar Offering, is gathered monthly and is dedicated to the work of CHP. We also support CHP through the church budget. You can support CHP with your gifts of money, items on their wish list, prayers or your time.
If you are interested in volunteering, or would like more information on their wish list or the work they do, please call them at 503-391-4365
John Knox Presbyterian Church, 452 Cummings Lane N, P O Box 20968, Keizer OR 97307