“No one has ever become poor by giving.” – Anne Frank
A story is told in my family about my great grandparents, Will and Fannie. Living in a soddy house on the Kansas prairie, they struggled with the wind and weather, trying to improve their land and bring in a crop. It was hard work. Great grandmother Fannie remade dresses for the children out of her own frayed frocks and saved cardboard to cut and place inside shoes whose soles had worn out to keep feet warm in cold weather. They didn’t have much, but they were thankful for what they had.
Neighbors were few and far between, and the only pastor was a circuit preacher who traveled through every few weeks to take care of weddings, christenings and funerals, with a service held in someone’s home. He took turns staying in the homes of those in his scattered flock; eating a meal with them was often the only pay he received. The food was monotonous and not very nutritious. Sometimes there was corn bread with molasses, or a few vegetables. Meat was rarely served and most often dried or cured with salt. “Water gravy” was served at every meal – made by browning flour in lard or salt pork fryings and stirring in water and cooking until the mixture thickened. Will and Fannie gave generously of the little they had. One time when the preacher was sharing a meal, he and great grandfather began to speculate on just how much water gravy they all consumed in a year’s time. They estimated the capacity of the large serving bowl on the table, and multiplied that by the number of the meals in a year. They figured it amounted to about twenty barrels of gravy! Counting up the amount of water gravy provided an evening of amusement along with the fellowship and food they shared.
As a girl, this story helped me understand the value of giving cheerfully, and through the years has continued to challenge me to enlarge my heart and capacity for giving generously – not clutching tightly, but with open hands held to God – the great giver!
“You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. ‘For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.’” – 2 Corinthians 9:7
Judi Brandow, Office Team Leader & Communications Specialist