“From where I was, it seemed like the picnic was really great,” stated Collene Meador. “I had fun walking around and getting stories from people.” Collene offered to capture people’s experiences during the picnic in how they served on Hope In Action day.  “I learned a lot from listening closely to each person and I admire the courage and compassion of people in our church.”

“One story was particularly instructive and made me cry, because the Lord was educating me in that moment. It was one of the blessings of my day.” She was approaching the whole thing as if only the receiver and the giver both get blessed. But as she listened to the stories God was moving in her and she was experiencing joy and lessons from God as well.

As she spoke with Jason Madsonand asked what his blessing from giving was, Jason said, “I don’t look at it that way. When I look at the person I think, ‘What would Jesus need?’” She asked, “Oh, you think, ‘What would Jesus do?’” He said, “No, I look at the marginalized person AS Jesus.” Collene had one of those powerful “aha” moments.  She realized it’s okay to receive a blessing as the giver but this cannot be the intention with which we go into giving or serving. Our intention needs to be to give, as if to Jesus, and to glorify our God.

Another principle which became evident for Collene is there are also two relationships which are strengthened through this kind of giving; our relationship with the person and our relationship with our God. She shared, “These are much better gifts and blessings than an ‘attagirl’.”

Collene started out to ‘just’ capture stories but came to realize this experience was a privilege and a gift of trust to record people’s stories. “I was very blessed. Seems like most people who participated were also.”