Ironicschmoozer’s Weblog

Associate Minister’s Newsletter Message for December: Surprise Gifts and The Surprise of Giving

A month ago a woman came into the Office and told our staff she wanted to make a donation.   She was not part of the church, but apparently she appreciated us for some reason or another.   She left a wad of cash in the amount of $326.  Of course, there is a budget line for “Other Donations.”

We are grateful for this “other donation” and for all acts of generosity, whether spontaneous or planned, such as with a Capital Campaign Commitment Form, yearly Pledge Card, or bequest from an estate.

We are grateful also for the hands that serve coffee, make soup, carry canned goods to a food pantry, cut grass and water flowers.  We are gifted by those who plan RE lessons for kids or teens, write caring notes, facilitate, give rides, give music, provide a listening ear.

We are grateful for the gift of your simple presence at services and other activities.  But in these busy times, we know that showing up itself is not simple.  It is a choice, an effort.  A gift.

A friend of mine was a college professor.  He said, “When I was teaching, some semesters I would leave a class and feel that I had cheated my students.  I had enjoyed the class, I had gotten so much more out of it than I had given to them.  They are the ones who are supposed to be enriched by it, not me,” he said.

“But you know,” he went on, “those were the classes for which I got the most positive student evaluations!”

He had thought he was not giving as much as he was receiving, but he’s learned the opposite.  He said:  “It is possible to feel that you are receiving more than you are giving.  And perhaps, that is because you are doing your best giving.”

An anonymous woman gave us $326.  As she made that gift, what do you think she felt she was receiving UUSS?  This community is a gift, and so are you.

In this busy season, may you receive gifts of generosity, care, joy, and peace.  And when you feel you are receiving richly, may you find that you are doing your best giving.


Yours in service,


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