Sabbatical year

Better than sex

“Giving is better than sex!!”

So exclaimed a (rather wild-eyed) United Methodist pastor from stage at this year’s Kentucky Annual Conference. Several others following him on stage commended his enthusiasm but said they weren’t sure if they could go so far.

The outpouring of generosity that we have received in the past few months has been incredible.

There have been the gifts of service — people like Megan and Jamie who have shown up to watch and play with kids when we had other demands; or Emily’s mom, who came for our final week in the house to help clean and pack; or Teri Schmelzel who hosted us after our trying trip to Chicago.

There have been the gifts of prayer. A high school friend of Emily’s sent her a note to tell her that their family of six had each taken one member of our family and committed to praying for us for the next year. The Offerings Community held a prayer send-off for us at Steve and Anna Dominick’s, capped by Jason Jackson’s heartfelt prayer over us that Sunday morning.

There have been the gifts of special words — countless cards and e-mails and calls to give encouragement and affirmations.

There have been financial gifts. Several people have given us special gifts or made monthly commitments for the full year. I had expected to be grateful when people gave us financial support. What I hadn’t expected was just how personal this has ended up being. Knowing that people are willing to support us out of their own pockets has been one of the most personally affirming things I have ever experienced.

And there have been the simple gifts of time. I’ve laughed at how people I may not have seen for the next year have still felt an urgency to get together before we leave. But it’s a real gift simply to sit with someone, knowing that you soon won’t be able to — whether you would have or not. I stopped at the donut shop just before we left town and ended up just sitting at the entrance with Joe and Heidi. We talked some about what had come and what the next year held, but I have a sense that it’s just that time sitting there silently that I’ll remember.

So thank you. So many of you have been so generous to us in so many ways, and it has touched us deeply. I’ve named a handful of names here and could have named hundreds more. Your generosity toward us has urged us to give more freely of ourselves to others — with our service, with our prayers, with our words, with our money, and with our time.

God gave his Son freely that we might have life. Perhaps we best reflect the nature of God when we so freely give of ourselves in love. And maybe that does make it better than sex…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s