Vandalia United Methodist Church

From the Pastor's Study

The Blessings Box

John Wesley purportedly said, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.” The saying fits well with Wesley’s Practical Theology that realizes the greatest spiritual impact is made on people when the sufferings are alleviated. I would like to think of it as the “cup of cold water” way of bringing people into a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward. (Matthew 10:40-42)

It is important that we search for ways to make a difference in the lives of the people around us. It makes sense that they would find it hard to believe that Jesus loves them when his disciples ignore their suffering.

I found a link on the web to an article that explained a “Blessings Box.” It told how Roman Espinoza put one on his lawn in Watertown, New York. It was modeled after the Little Free Libraries, some folks have placed on their front lawns, which display books that other people can borrow. What the 46-year-old Army veteran hoped to do was alleviate the problem of hunger in his community. The man’s small gesture ended up revealing his community’s generosity. Today, the town has more than twenty of these boxes scattered throughout the community.

At the heart of the blessing box program is the idea that small acts of generosity can make a huge difference, especially when done anonymously. “All you do is you drive up to a blessing box. You get out of your car. You walk up. You take the items that you need out of it, and then you drive away,” Espinoza said. “You don’t pay anything. We don’t want any money.” Looking ahead, Espinoza hopes to keep expanding the number of boxes. “Initially, when my wife and I were talking about [the blessing boxes] we were talking about having eight to ten,” Espinoza said. “But we’ve gotten more than twenty now and it would be nice to see the numbers double.”

I introduced the concept of a Blessings Box to Outreach Committee Chairperson Joyce Staff. Joyce then presented it to the Outreach Committee, and they were willing to give it a try. Eric Miller constructed the box, and I have given it a couple coats of paint. The Church Council recommended that it be placed next to the church’s playground, across the street from the church. I will be asking different groups within our church to commit to stocking the Blessing Box for one month each. Guidelines for its use will be posted on the side of the box, and people will be free to take out of it as needed. Only non-perishable food along with hygiene items will be placed inside. Items should be seasonal. I don’t think we want to put jars of peanut butter out in 100-degree weather.

I realize that some people will take advantage of our generosity; and hopefully, the box won’t be vandalized. For that reason, I would like us to commit to a one-year trial run, so that it maintains a constant presence in the community.

Hopefully, this makes a difference, even if it is just one cup of water in a thirsty world.

In Christ’s love,


WASHINGTON, D.C. In its continued efforts to inform The United Methodist Church on its processes and work, the Commission on a Way Forward is releasing four more videos this week that document the experiences, hopes, dreams, concerns, approach, and learnings of the 32-member Commission.

The videos released today are:

Commission released four videos recently: Click here for the list of videos released last week.


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