by Kristi Muston
“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. ” ~2 Cor. 9:7
A number of years ago, my husband and I took on the holiday crowds at HyVee for our weekly shopping trip. I remember the store was packed with impatient shoppers. As we pulled our cart into the checkout aisle (pre-self-checkout days), the woman in front of us packed her groceries while attempting to run her EBT card. For whatever reason, that day, her card was not working. As she assured the cashier she had the funds, and the cashier tried again to run her card, I found myself thinking: we could easily pay for this woman’s groceries. Michael and I made eye contact, but before any words came, he handed his credit card to the cashier. He and I had simultaneously felt the same call to give.
What sticks with me the most in this story, years later, is not the gratitude the woman felt as her groceries got paid for, nor was it the cashier’s eyes tearing up as she rang up our groceries after. What sticks with me most is the awe I felt at God’s clear call to us both; in the busyness of life, I can often miss the Spirit’s promptings. But on that day in HyVee, chaotic as it was, His Spirit told us to bless this woman. Our gift grew my faith and blessed our lives as well.
I share this story because it reminds me of God’s call to live a life of generosity and hospitality. This is not a one-time action, but a lifelong journey. I’m reminded of Jesus’ words in Matthew 26:
“‘For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me…Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of my brothers, you did it to me’” (Matt. 26: 35-36, 40).
During the Christmas season, it may seem “easy” to give generously. Even our individualistic culture promotes giving and charity during the holiday season. But God’s call to us is to embody this spirit of giving year-round: to give of our time, talents, and possessions generously and with great cheer. We are called to feed the hungry, clothe the poor, and visit the sick and imprisoned. While this looks different for every individual and family, I pray that despite the busyness of life, we find ways to cheerfully show generosity and hospitality in the community.
I have no idea what happened to that woman or the cashier, but I hope God used the moment to speak into their lives as he spoke into mine.
Kristi Muston has lived in Rochester for almost a decade. She is married to Michael and mother to Sophia. After teaching English for 9 years, Kristi is now a stay-at-home mom. In her spare moments, she loves reading, running, and eating dessert. At Calvary, she co-edits The Stir blog, and is involved with the worship team and Renovare.