by Carol Buckhout, Presbytery Vice Moderator
“. . .for God loves a cheerful giver.”
“You see, when a cheerful giver is matched with a cheerful receiver, it’s a beautiful thing.” *
The first quote above is likely a familiar one. It’s safe to say we’ve all heard a sermon based on 2 Corinthians 9:7—probably during stewardship season.
In recent weeks, many of our churches have put out a call for donations of spiral notebooks, pens, pencils and markers for back-to-school events. And many of us have responded as the cheerful givers of those items.
But what about the cheerful recipients? I know I envisioned a smiling elementary student– or maybe a not-too-sullen high school student– going back to class with a backpack full of new school supplies. I had given with that thought in mind. Certainly, as givers, our expectation was that all those school supplies would be put to good use and not end up in a heap to rival an aisle at Staples.
The second quote is from a friend who leads a nonprofit that gives breast cancer patients and their families respite and fun vacations at resort locations. These much-needed vacations happen because owners of vacation homes donate a stay there–cheerful givers matched with cheerful recipients. The homes are put to use when they would otherwise be vacant.
A well-matched gift, though, rarely happens by accident. School supplies are purchased from a list of requested items. The nonprofit gathers information about a potential vacation recipient and arranges a stay in a location that fits that patient and family. In other words, there is a conversation that leads to a cheerful recipient being matched with the cheerful gift.
As a Presbytery, we have opportunities to be both cheerful givers and receivers. And, the pronoun “we” is important; Presbytery is not an “it” or a “them”. We can have the conversations that help us use the One Hopeful Fund (the Presbytery shared mission fund, used to support the mission work of our own churches) and the work of the Center for Learning to do great things. If your congregation is moving through the Elemental Churches program and identifying new programs to implement, join in a conversation to ask for the gifts of support you may need. Entering that discussion can be as simple as responding to a survey. Use that opportunity to share what you or your congregation needs, wants or dreams of.
If you want to be a donor, giving to the One Hopeful Fund is always an option. Ask how to put your gifts to work. It can be a beautiful thing. Cheers!
*The second quote is from Kent Wellington who leads The Karen Wellington Foundation, a nonprofit that gives breast cancer patients and their families respite and fun vacations at resort locations. These much-needed vacations happen because owners of vacation homes donate a stay there–cheerful givers matched with cheerful recipients. The homes are put to use when they would otherwise be vacant.