Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Generosity to Spare

Pictured at right is the sight that greeted me as I arrived at church a couple of days ago. It is what it appears to be: a spare tire with a Christmas card taped to it.

The euphoric family sledding down the front of the card is saying, “May you and your family share a world of joy this Christmas.” Pictured are presumably a mom, a dad, their two kids, and grandfather tucked in the midst of them.
That’s three grown adults and two mid-sized children careening straight at the reader on an out of control toboggan to which mom is holding on with only one oven-mitted hand. I’m not sure where grandpa is holding on.

On the card was written this message with black marker: “Dear First United Methodist. Here is something for your next garage sale. See you soon!” And it is signed. The tire itself appears to be a typical, temporary spare tire. In fact, stamped on the side of the tire are the words, “Temporary use only.”

It is definitely one of the most … unique … Christmas gifts I have ever received on behalf of the church. The sight of it leaning there against the door was quite the surreal experience, and I’ll bet will be a singular occurrence over the course of my ministry, however many years I am at it.

The more I think about it, though, the more touching it is. The giver evidently saw the spare tire sitting there (wherever “there” happened to be), and thought, “You know, that Methodist Church has a garage sale every now and then, and I reckon they ought to be able to sell this here perfectly good spare tire for a few bucks. I think I’ll load it up in my trunk and bring it on down. And while I’m at it, why don’t I turn it into a nice Christmas gift?”

After all, this is the season of gift giving, and it is a rare kind of extravagant generosity that would cause a person to look at a dirty spare tire and think of the church. And so I am happy to accept this gift out of the generosity of this kind heart. I suspect that the widow’s two coins were considered an odd gift, as well.

The church will receive more valuable gifts this Christmas, but none more sincere.


John said...

Most men our age starting putting on a spare tire around our midsection this time of year.

EyeRytStuf said...

Okay, I'm stupid. I read this first thing this morning, and only just now did I get the pun in the title. You may mock me now.

Anonymous said...

I think it was Jeff.