Last fall when United Methodist Women made the decision to open the Sharing Shop, it was to be a temporary mission project. Opening for about three months before Christmas would give those in need, the opportunity to “shop” for items that were necessities or perhaps do a little shopping for presents. Over a year later, we are still in business and I have loved getting to know the people who come through the doors: Betty and Avis and Tony and many, many others.
In the beginning, I believed that we would offer donated items, people would be grateful, and we would feel good about ourselves and our mission work. I have been deeply affected by my interactions with the people we are serving, and I am the one who is grateful for the opportunity to get to know and to serve these individuals. The blessings I have received are too many to count. I believe that God calls each one of us to walk in ministry with the poor, the marginalized, the forgotten. And sometimes we must be brave and courageous and be willing to step outside of our comfort zone when we listen to God’s call.
I believe we are called in the Sharing Shop to be the hands, the feet, the voice of Christ – and these take determination, commitment, love and a willingness to see the world through the eyes of others. I have been touched and humbled by my time in the Sharing Shop. This Advent, the belief that Jesus came for ALL of us will be more real to me than ever before.
Prayer: Father, help us to remember that we are all called to action and that no kind deed is ever too small or too insignificant. Bless all those who enter our lives. Bless our actions to reflect the love and compassion that lies in each of our hearts. Amen.
-Pat Bellingrath From the Church Street Advent Devotion Book, 2013