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This past week, my daughter and I were out shopping for a birthday gift for a friend.  As we were doing the self-checkout, the computer asked us if we would like to donate to charity.  I quickly tapped “no,” and my daughter was incensed.  “Don’t you want to help, Mommy?!?”  As we walked back to our car, I explained how we do help others.  She seemed incredulous, so I detailed our charitable giving, starting with what we give to the church.

Though she seemed mildly satisfied, our conversation made me realize a couple of things.  First, I could stand to have more explicit conversations with our children about our giving to church.  We already talk about budgets, treats, and how we spend money otherwise.  I realize now that our eldest may be ready to understand the commitment we make to church too.  Second, my daughter’s initial indignation is really good thing.  Her frustration with me reveals a sense of compassion and generosity that I was not sure she had fully developed.

This Sunday in church, we are celebrating lots of things.  We are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the consecration of our historic church.  After hundreds of years of our church being used as a school and hospital, a faithful community gathered once again in 1917 for the original purpose of the building – to worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.  We are also celebrating the paying off of our mortgage on our newest worship space.  After one final push this summer, and years of generosity before, we are able to be debt free!  We are also celebrating In-Gathering Sunday: a day where we offer our pledge cards for blessing.  These pledge cards indicate our commitment to the upcoming year of ministry, and reflect our journey toward generosity.

As these three celebrations combine into one day, I am ever aware of Hickory Neck’s own journey to generosity.  From the faithful who worked to reestablish our church after years of dormancy, to the faithful who saw a vision of a more modern, spacious place of worship just over ten years ago, to the faithful who see the new things budding at Hickory Neck and want to be a part of that growing community, we are a community who has always been on a journey to generosity.  I am grateful for the chance to celebrate together, especially for the ways in which our celebration is an example for the future generations who are also being shaped into faithful servants of compassion and generosity.  From the past and present, and into the future, I see God’s abundance all around us!