Would you agree with me that God is generous? While we don’t need to go any further than the gift of his Son to see his magnanimous nature, certainly the beauty of nature, his constant provision, and the hope of heaven further prove the point. We are called to be like him, which leads to the question, “Are we generous?” Am I? Are you?”
We live in a “me first” world, where more (for ourselves) is always (supposedly) better. The Bible teaches us to live counter to that culture.
- It’s better to give than to receive.
- Love your neighbor as yourself.
- Seek first the kingdom of God.
A truly generous life requires introspection. Gandhi said, “Live simply so that others may simply live.” Stop and think about that for a moment. Are there parts of our lives where even a tiny tweak toward simplicity might free up time or money that would make a great difference in someone else’s life? How much are we willing to do without for the sake of someone else?
Perhaps a trial is in order. Lent is coming (but any space on the calendar will do.) I’ll be giving up my beloved hot tea for several weeks. During that time, I’ll calculate the funds saved by that small sacrifice. Later I’ll send them to an organization that provides clean water in another country.** Will that small sum make a difference? Yes, it will, not to many, but to some. And some is far better than none.
Care to join me? Perhaps you’ll choose a different sacrifice, another beneficiary. Maybe you will be led to tweak your use of time instead, freeing up precious moments to serve or befriend wherever you are led. Let me encourage you, though: God wastes nothing. Whatever your sacrifice, he will use it. And you will be blessed.
‘Hope you’ll let me know how it goes!
**And if you choose clean water as the need you will help meet, consider reviewing one of these websites:
Years ago, I learned of the global water crisis. In much of the world, women will walk miles every morning, each bringing back a 5 gallon container filled with 40 pounds of dirty water. It will have to suffice for all their families’ needs until the end of the day, when they repeat the trip. Many who drink the water will fall ill, but they have no other choice.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that a great many organizations are working to help change the situation: Living Water International, charity: water, Blood:Water Mission, and The Water Project are just a few of the ministries changing lives every day, working to make the water crisis a thing of the past. Recently, a friend told me about Partners for Care, an organization whose mission is to provide salaries to Kenyans who carry out their work and vision there. Their health, sanitation and water improvement programs are led and accomplished by Kenyans for Kenyans.
One of the Kenyans, a pastor, came to the USA for the first time in order to meet with the staff of Partners for Care. As you can imagine, the cultural differences he saw here were astounding. His observations were both amusing and thought provoking. I’ve been given permission to share them with you.
- “Is it illegal for people not to own a car?” (He hadn’t seen anyone walking.)
- “Are you allowed to drive old cars in the US?” (By Kenyan standards all our cars are new.)
- “Is there hot water in the shower, and is the tap water safe to drink?”
- “I slept with my blanket over my head last night. I could not find any mosquito netting.”
- “America is dollar country because it has everything. You can even sleep outside, because there are no wild animals to eat you. Americans have plenty of firewood, but most don’t even need it.” (He mentioned that he was expecting a call from his family soon to say that they had run out of firewood.)
- “How can you throw food away?” (He had even eaten the little package of butter at a restaurant because he didn’t want to see it wasted.)
Today I will take a hot shower, drink clean water, eat plenty of food, ride in a new (ish) car, and go to sleep in a climate controlled, mosquito-free bedroom. And because of that Kenyan Pastor, I’ll be more keenly aware of those basic blessings! Happy Thanksgiving indeed!