Today's Lectionary Text
Luke 12:32-34“Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Psalm 50:23Those who bring thanksgiving as their sacrifice honor me;
to those who go the right way,
I will show the salvation of God.”
A definition of the noun “privilege” is an “honor,” “a right or immunity granted as a peculiar benefit, advantage, or favor.”
One morning earlier this week I experienced a very distinct privilege, the honor of spending several hours volunteering at Open Door Food Ministry. While there, I got to work with files, placing last Friday’s applications in the appropriate file folders and then helping to replace those files into the cabinets.
In addition, I handed out application blanks to folk who came in for their August box. After they completed their form, I pulled their file and gave it to the intake people. Those volunteers interviewed each applicant and then sent the individual on to wait to be called to pick up their order.
It was such a privilege to have a role in this process. My face broke into a smile over and over again, all morning. One woman came in with a distinct limp, one of her legs covered in Ace bandage. That leg did not keep her from glowing with a great big smile. It was contagious!
What a piece of treasure she gave me; it was an honor to serve her. A young man came in with two toddlers in a stroller and an elementary-aged girl. He politely took the papers and completed them, then patiently waited to be interviewed. When the family came back to wait after their interview, he went to the restroom to change diapers, while the girl waited. They clearly worked together as a family to accomplish the necessary tasks.
At least five family groupings came in needing the application form in Spanish. Each of them was interviewed by the translator. Monica spoke with each client kindly and respectfully, helping each to feel at ease. She offered God’s blessing, through her actions and her manner, to each person with whom she worked. What a great morning!
Privilege was evident in my day in another way that morning. I went to the bank, withdrew some money from our account so I could easily buy groceries. I did not have to worry whether, by buying those groceries, I would be able to pay our electric and water bills. There was nothing that had to be left unpaid. Indeed, I am privileged to have adequate resources.
When I realized, in this second example of privilege, just how easy it is for me, I began to wonder if it should be a privilege to have access to food. Well, of course not! Nourishing food is necessary to life. Jesus urges us to sell our possessions and give alms. One way to do that is to reach out to those who are food insecure, helping to ensure that they have enough to eat. We can give time and effort. (There were at least six volunteers at the Food Ministry the day I worked). Or we can donate peanut butter, green beans, cereal and many other goods. Or we can write a check. Lots of possibilities exist that allow us to follow Jesus' admonition in Luke 12.
What a privilege it is to be able to participate in reaching out to people who need food. It is a very real cause for thanksgiving. It is a way to honor God. It is an opportunity to reach out and spread the gift of God’s love.
-Rev. Dianne Tombaugh
Prayer for Reflection
Thank you God for nourishing food and especially for the privilege of sharing gifts we have with others who have needs.
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