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Freely You Have Received, Freely Give
Matthew 10:5 8
 
When the pandemic had its first cases in the Texas, I confess, I instantly went to the grocery store and picked up three weeks’ worth of shelf stable or frozen groceries in case Alex or I got sick and had to self-isolate; plenty of bread flour, a stash of acetaminophen, tissues, hand sanitizer and plenty of British chocolate (which has since been replenished twice over).

Embarrassingly, it took more than a few days for me to realize the incredible luxury of my financial position: that we could buy all the groceries we needed and that I could afford to pay inflated prices for hand sanitizer. Although we used up some of our savings moving our life to Texas, even a move back to the UK would not leave us in crippling debt and I knew that we were blessed indeed to have this freedom a little bit of savings brought.

My husband Alex and I then had to ask that harder question: with all that we have, how much can we give away?

We are both a bit slow on this front; we have to ramp up gradually. It started with giving away toilet paper rolls with abandon to our friends who couldn’t find any at the store, then the tinned tomatoes to our neighbors, and some of the great steak we’d found on a deal. Then each week we’ve tried to step it up–giving away things and then money with increasing confidence.

We’ve discovered over time that giving becomes meaningful when it’s a bit painful. It should be sacrificial, it should be at the cost of something else and it should verge on controversial. Conversations about money are some of the most difficult ones we have in our household, but they also bring us the most freedom and joy in the longer term.

All these things help us cultivate gratitude for what we have and lean more fully on God to provide for all our needs.  
The Rev. Jane P. Ferguson
Associate for Liturgy, Student Ministries and Outreach