February 7 – Not all givers should be Christians, but all Christians should be givers

toothbrushFor Christians, giving is not just what the good among us do. It is what we all must do all of the time.

We asked for 600, but we received 844.  Toothbrushes, that is. And we asked for “some” toothpaste and received 550 tubes of various sizes. We should not have been surprised. This is LPC, after all.

Dental hygiene is one of the things we like to emphasize at the make-shift medical clinics we help staff and supply in the villages around Lake Atitlan that the Guatemala Mission Away Team will visit this coming week. Children are offered fluoride treatments and we send tooth paste and tooth brushes home with as many clinic patients as possible.

We know that we are likely to see more than 600 patients at the clinics, but we’ve got only so much suitcase space (we try to keep as much of our own stuff as possible in our carry-on luggage and then haul medicine, shoes and, yes, toothpaste and tooth brushes in the checked bags). So the Away Team asked the Home Team for some help. 600 toothbrushes and “some” toothpaste. And, once again this year, the Home Team responded by giving and then giving some more.

We should not have been surprised. This is LPC, after all.

Yesterday I sent an email asking any LPC member or anyone who knew an LPC member in need of a warm place to rest or stay during the power outage to let us know. And then I asked any members who might be willing to offer a warm home in which someone might rest or stay the night to let me know. I know this is LPC, but I was not just surprised; I was overwhelmed with your responses – quick, open, generous. Let me put it this way. Our members in need of a warm place to rest or stay, could stay a month away from home and never visit the same house twice.

I should not have been surprised. This is LPC.

Giving is what we call a common grace. The Creator has built a love of giving into the human creature. We are most human when we are giving – freely, openly, generously. Good people of all creeds and no creeds give. They fund cancer research and university libraries. They participate in canned food drives and give to their local PBS stations. Good people give.  Jesus told a story about a good Samaritan who gave aid to a wounded traveler while the “righteous” walked right by.

The good of giving knows no creed.

For Christians, giving and keeping on giving is not an option, however. It is not just what the good among us do. It is what we all must do all of the time. After all, we have received the love of the One who gave his own son for us. We have received grace to help in time of need. We have received the Holy Spirit and the Spirit’s gifts. We have tasted the fruit of that given Spirit’s presence in our lives.

Not all of us on the Home Team needed to give toothpaste and toothbrushes. Not all of us with light and heat needed to open our homes to another. But all of us who know the love of the giving God need to give. And keep on giving. Even when we grow weary of giving, we must keep on giving. Time and talent and treasure we must give.

As you pray for the Guatemala Mission Away Team, please pray that we would spend our week giving and keeping on giving. Be assured that the Away Team will be praying for the Home Team that you give and keep on giving – at work and at home, at school and in the community – reflecting the generous and open love of our Giving God.

I won’t see you Sunday unless you’re on the Away Team. But to all of you, thanks for giving. I know, I should not be surprised. This is LPC, after all.