Lovett Weems Jr.
Monday, December 2, 2013 5:28 PM
Just walking into Target makes me tense in this season of the year. The marketing prowess of MBAs has been honed to make me feel life is not complete without the perfect stuff...table runners, place settings, a fox box (been in Target this season?), the perfect gift, the perfect home fragrance (seriously), the perfect exercise gear, the perfect outfit. Just walking through the store determined to just pick up toilet paper, window cleaner and allergy meds, I find myself building a list of what I might buy for whom and how I might revisit my decor to accommodate the latest tchotchkes.
There is little that retailers are doing (ok...not one thing) to make us feel generous in the holiday season. Sure, retailers will sell a special item with proceeds benefitting this or that, but even in that, they are counting on our tendency to need or want something else. They still hear cha-ching with each purchase we make.
Maybe bell ringers actually exist to give us a way to assuage our guilt...even if we didn't succumb to our starry-eyed materialist dreams, the red kettle gives us a moment of redemption, investing whatever we can slip into the slot in those who have less.
It's complicated. We live in a society surrounded by much, but need is also all around us. Recently, Andy Lunt, Wesley adjunct professor of preaching reminded a group of ministry leaders from the Baltimore Washington Conference that we are truly blessed by God to be a blessing for others. He modified the old data rule GIGO (garbage in, garbage out) to BIBO...blessings in, blessings out. Because we are blessed, we are obligated to bless others.
Jesus' ministry was blessed by others' generosity. At turns, there were households to feed and house the disciples. In a crowd of more than 5000, everyone found enough to share with one another so that all were fed with baskets of bread and fish left over. Luxurious nard was lavished on Jesus' weary traveling feet. This in a society where getting by was defined quite differently than we do today.
Deep down, I know I have more than enough, and when I catch myself in a whirlwind of desire, I am restored by my commitment to love other people the way I have been loved. I know I am a beloved child of God, and in gratitude for that, I share what I have.
You can bless the ministry of a Wesley seminarian this holiday season by sharing from the heart. On Tuesday, December 2, I hope that you will share your blessings by joining the movement of #GivingTuesday. In response to the overwhelming consumer messaging of the holidays (buy, buy, buy), #GivingTuesday is a movement to transact for good online. Your tax-deductible gift can be made on our website. And each gift given helps to equip someone's ministry, enabling them to bless thousands of others with the Good News of the Gospel - we are loved and embraced, even in our brokenness by a God who touched the world in human flesh.
Glory to God in the highest. Peace on earth and goodwill to all!
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