A generosity that knows no boundaries

Rosemary (top right) with family members, including her grandparents, mother, and sisters

By Rosemary C. Mitchell

I grew up in a large Italian family. A hallmark of our life together was that there was always room at the table for a guest. When anyone, friend or stranger, arrived at the house, they were profusely welcomed and invited to have a seat and to eat. Always. No exceptions.

One time, my sister’s car broke down and a friend of a friend rescued her. She invited him to dinner. Of course! No problem. Because dinner that night included a birthday celebration with family pictures, the young man got in the family pictures. When I commented that I thought that was crossing a line, my grandmother called me out, “And you call yourself a minister!”

My grandparents, immigrants and strangers in a new land, were welcomed in a previous century. They lived lives of gratitude and generosity with friends, strangers and especially with the Church. For them, hospitality and generosity had no boundaries.

As we prepare to observe #GivingTuesday, the global day of giving held annually on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, I know that I will be surrounded by my grandparents’ witness of generosity. On #GivingTuesday, Nov. 30, their enduring example will remind me that it is my turn to give as I have received.

The Rev. Rosemary C. Mitchell is senior director of Mission Engagement and Support for the Presbyterian Mission Agency.

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