A Page From Mary Lu's World

Sharing Life With Others

“Spirited” Giving All Year Long

on December 17, 2013

This is the time of year when we feel a little more giving.  We are more likely to open up our wallet or dig for some change to put in the Salvation Army kettle when we hear the familiar bell.  Perhaps we pick up a toy for Toys for Tots. Or donate food for the hungry.  And I think most of us have wondered what would happen if this “attitude of sharing” were to continue all year long?

Sharing as a sermon

Sunday my pastor Lane Bembenek used giving and sharing as the theme of his sermon at Joy Lutheran Church. He started with the children and asked them what they knew about John the Baptist.  Responses like “he ate bugs” and “he had his head cut off” were offered up.

Joy Lutheran Church

Pastor Lane Bembenek

All were correct but Pastor Lane explained that another thing John the Baptist was known for was to encourage others to share what they had.  The children were shown coats on the altar that the congregation were giving to those who are without.

The sermon transitioned back to the adults and Pastor Lane shared an idea he had for a Christmas card and wondered what we would think if we received it.

John the Baptist image

The card read “Happy Advent You Brood of Vipers! Now Repent! Of course we all laughed but when we settled down the message was being driven home.  Here is this hairy, scary looking guy and guess what? He taught people to give.

Getting the vision

We’ve read stories about Jesus multiplying small amounts of food to feed many. What are some ways we can replicate this idea to help others?

  1. None of us have magic wands and unlimited sources of income but we do have our minds. There is power in people working together. Get together a group of friends and find out what the real need is for an organization.  They may need money rather than things.   Asking is always a good first step.
  2. A close friend chose to honor us with a gift in our name to the local animal shelter.  We love animals.  This was a sweet way to help an organization that works hard to find homes for animals and made us feel good in the process.
  3. Take a little time out before Christmas and pick out some things that you can donate.  You can keep someone warm with clothing.  Extra kitchen items can help a family who has moved into a new home with very little.  Toys are welcome for children who may have been uprooted from all they know. I’ve been particularly distressed to hear that hundreds of “angels” in our area weren’t taken off Salvation Army tree. Translated hundreds of children will be without presents on Christmas.
  4. Many agencies in our area help families out with their bills.  An extra $10 or $20 could make the difference to a family that is about to lose their power.

Check out the list of resources at the end of the blog for more ways to help.

You get the idea.  Think a little bit and do something meaningful.  You will be blessed as you bless others.

I love the line from this Ghanian folk tune: “Jesu, Jesu, fill us with your love, show us how to serve the neighbors we have from you.” 

Thank you for taking time to read this.  Let’s start a YEAR-ROUND trend!  Share your ideas here on ways to keep that “giving” spirit flowing.

Blessings to each of you,

Mary Lu


Organizations like the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, and the United Way have local offices in every community across the country and need help and money to help take care of those who need a hand.

Here are some Upstate specific non-profits that do so much to help to help those in our neighborhoods:

The Carpenter’s Table, Moore

Upstate Family Resource Center, Boiling Springs

Spartanburg Interfaith Hospitality Network (SPIHN), Spartanburg

Greer Relief, Greer

Harvest Hope Food Bank, Greenville

Anderson Interfaith Ministries, Anderson


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