by Nancy Eckardt
I am a thrift-store junkie. It is my vice, my escape, in many ways. I have found amazing bargains on my trips to Goodwill and Value Village, but I have also purchased things just because they are a great deal, not because I actually need them. So my commitment over these 50 days of the Spilling Hope campaign is to give up purchasing items for myself at any thrift store for 50 days, and giving those funds to build wells in Uganda. So far, so good, although I have justified the purchase of some books for the church library, and an iHome clock radio (with remote!!) for my son, Cameron.
It has actually been more challenging than I thought it would be. I have not stayed out of the thrift stores, and when I am there, part of me cries out to buy that pair of shoes that looks like they haven’t been worn, and are made by a high-end company. How can I walk away from these bargains, because they won’t be there when I return in 50 days?
When I return in 50 days? When Pentecost comes on May 23rd, and I bring my gift in for Spilling Hope, will I then feel free to return to my same old ways of spending more than I need to, buying stuff that I can certainly live without? Is the goal of the campaign to save and give for 50 days so that I can send a big fat check to Living Waters International, or is there more to it than that?
Yes, there’s more to it than that! There is a third word in the core values of Spilling Hope that reflect God’s best intentions for our lives – Change. The hope and ultimate goal of any campaign of generosity we take on is to be transformed in our attitudes and habits, so that we become lifelong recipients and agents of God’s blessing and generosity. That is a much more significant challenge! It’s a marathon, not a sprint! My prayer for myself during these 50 days is that I begin a process of letting go of my need to find the perfect bargain, and to live in gratefulness and contentment for what I already have.
What about you? Are you anxious for the 50 days to be over, so you can return to your previous habits and attitudes about our resources? Or are you wondering if you can make your commitment of 50 days a habit for life, and begin to look at generosity as a way of life, a reflection of the blessing that you have received in Christ?
We are offering a class on Generosity, Wednesday, May 12 – June 2, 6:45 – 8pm, in Classroom A. In the class we will look at Generosity broadly. Why is generosity a worthy discipline in our Rule of Life here at Bethany? What do we base our commitment to generosity on? What do we believe about ourselves and our resources that make it difficult to be generous? We will address specific areas, including our finances, our time, and our spirit. The format will be lecture with interactive discussion around tables. Teachers include Geoff Dargan and Heather Tuininga. If you are looking for a place to explore the spiritual discipline of generosity on a deeper level, this is the class for you.