I started writing this post just moments after we finished serving our very first pancake lunch of the new school year to more than 140 very grateful Hampton High School students. Every plate of food we dished out was received with an enthusiastic “thank you!” from each and every one of the students. I was struck, today, by how clearly the simple expressions of gratitude from those students in turn fed the enthusiasm and devotion shown by our volunteers. It’s such a clear example of how generosity inspires gratitude and how that gratitude inspires still more generosity, and on and on it goes.
The lunches served out of St. Paul’s every 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month to the students of Hampton High School are just one example of the many ways in which our parish continues to be blessed by this cycle of generosity and gratitude. At the heart of it all, however, and what I believe drives it all, is God’s generosity towards each of us.
In my experience, the greatest demonstrations of generosity among Christian people are motivated by a profound sense of gratitude towards God. None of the people that I have known with this sense gratitude has lived a perfect life. In fact, many of them have experienced more than their fair share of suffering. Yet they’ve all come to possess a deep sense that every good thing that has come to them in life has come to them graciously and freely from God. I’ve noticed too that whatever stage of life these grateful and generous people may be in, they all seem to believe that they have only just begun to experience the goodness that God has instore for them, in this life and the next.
In short, the most generous people that I have come to know (those whose generosity has challenged and inspired me the most) have also been the most grateful. They are deeply rooted in the cycle of gratitude and grace. They are generous because they are thankful, and they are thankful because they believe God has given them and has promised them far more than they could have asked for or imagined.
In this season of giving thanks I pray that we would all find ourselves fully surrounded by the cycle of gratitude and grace. I pray that you would know God’s generosity and goodness towards you, and that knowing his goodness you would not only be surrounded but filled with generosity and thanksgiving.
Rev. David Turner +