A Gift to Be Given Away

Executive Director Tom VanWingerden

Many Sunday mornings I sit with my friend Bob during the worship service. Bob speaks very few words but is highly engaged in the activities and liturgy of the hour. Bob raises his hands to join the pastor in offering a blessing and calling the congregation into worship. He calls out his “Amens” and moves eagerly through the crowd to greet fellow churchgoers with a handshake and a smile (often not just in our row, but also several rows all the way to the front of the church). Bob sings or hums to give praise and opens the Bible as God’s word is read. It’s clear to all that Bob loves the fellowship and blessing of belonging and worship with his church family.

When it’s time for the offering, Bob looks down at my pocket to make sure I remember to pull out a dollar bill for him, giving him the opportunity to participate. As the offering plate passes by, Bob readily places his dollar bill into the plate and looks at me with a very pleased and satisfied look.

August 2019 – Friends and Golf Outing sponsors enjoying a day set aside to celebrate and invest in this ministry.

I have wondered at times why Bob seems so satisfied in this particular ritual. He doesn’t know or ask how the money will be used by the church. He is satisfied to give. When my money goes into the offering plate, I too am pleased, but usually because I’m thankful that God has given me a career, allowing me to live and share with my community. I’m aware of my blessings, my commitment, satisfaction and fulfillment of duty. I’m not absolutely sure, but I’m guessing most of that is not going through Bob’s head.

But as I think about the dollar bill (which really wasn’t Bob’s for very long), as it easily passes from me through Bob’s hands and is happily placed into the collection plate, I also think about how the money I place in the offering was never mine either, but simply passed on to me from God, a gift meant to be given away. Bob reminds me to focus my mind and heart on the joy of giving.

On behalf of Friendship Ministries, thank you all for your faithful focus of joy, gratitude, and passing along what God has given. We remain in need of your continued financial support to continue this ministry, and now more than ever before, we are grateful for it. To learn about ways you can be more involved in supporting Friendship – through a monthly gift, planned giving, or a long-term partnership, please reach out to me at tomvw@friendship.org.

May we all be as free and unattached to those dollar bills as Bob is!

“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
2 Corinthians 9:7

In Him,

Tom VanWingerden
Executive Director

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