Hello my dear friends!
It has been an interesting week to work on "generosity." Reading about all the massive and very serious financial problems we have as a nation and knowing that the reason we got here is because of greed, made this chapter quite eye-opening. I am not a political activist in any sense of the word, but I have been reading what different "experts" are saying about how America can get out of the mess it is in. Interestingly, they all seem to agree that it will involve sacrifice on the part of all Americans. What they don't agree on is if we will be able to do it because every group asked to sacrifice has such an "entitlement" attitude.
I have actually been kind of going down the "what if?" road a bit lately. That thought process was helped out greatly by a man I ran into over the weekend who had a massive case of "conspiracy theory" of the most sinister and scary kind. As he talked about his ideas of what the world leaders were trying to do, he painted a pretty bleak picture. I listened for awhile and then finally, had to say something...the only thing I could say to this barrage of bad news: Because of Jesus, at least I knew my ultimate future was secure. Ha! That sure stopped him in his tracks. All he could say was "I guess that's a good way to look at it." Actually, that is the only way to look at it. But this conversation along with the chapter on generosity got me to thinking. I don't know what is going to happen with all that is going on in our world right now, but there may come a time when we, as Christ followers, singularly and as churches will have to step in and give more than we ever thought we could. We might have to be the first to show what giving sacrificially means...what it looks like.
Another experience I had this week has also impacted me in a way that I just cannot get out of my mind. My daughter, Kirsti, is a Child-life Specialist for a hospital. I was visiting her last week, and while I was there she told me about a brother and sister who came into the Emergency Department one evening. I will warn you now that the story I am about to tell is pretty graphic, and I am not going to "pretty it up." These two little ones came in with horrible abuse injuries. The little boy was 2 years old. He had bruises, cuts and bumps all over his head and upper body, but his worst injuries were burns to his scrotum. The little girl was only 8 months old. She came in with the same kind of injuries to her head and face but in addition to that, she had a broken femur. Kirsti was assigned to stay with these little ones as they went through batteries of tests throughout the day. Finally, tests over, they were in their rooms. Kirsti was having a wonderful time playing cars with the little boy when his mom and boyfriend walked into the room. Immediately, at the sight of these two, this little guy's entire countenance changed, he wet himself, and sat hollow-eyed looking at his abusers. As Kirsti related this story, her eyes filled with tears at the memory of it. The mom and boyfriend had not been arrested yet because the investigation was ongoing at the time, however, they are now behind bars.
This story haunts me. Something has to be done for these little ones and those others like them, but what? There were a few other people in the room that day as Kirsti related her story and talk of the foster system came up. Someone there said that they just couldn't do foster care, especially of babies, because of the pain it would cause to give them back or give them up to someone else. Kirsti responded with something profound. She said, "I don't think that helping others is supposed to be painless." The truth is I try to keep my life as "painless" as possible.
And then I read the story of the Macedonians this week on Day 4 and that was completely humbling, wasn't it? They certainly weren't looking for the painless or comfortable way in life and yet they were filled with "overflowing joy" and "rich generosity." They "urgently pleaded" for the "privilege of sharing" with those who were in even greater need than they were themselves. What a testimony of generosity!!!
I have gone back a few times to Katie's prayer on Day 4 during this past week :
"Precious Lord, Would you examine my heart right now? Am I as generous as I think I am? Do I have true compassion for people? Do I stop and really look at the people around me and see their needs? Do I respond to them like you would? Lord, I want to be more like you. I want to overflow with generosity. I want to find a cause that I feel so strongly about that I'm begging for the chance to support it. I want to be so aware of others ans so unconscious of my own limitations, that I give more than I am able, for you are my supply..."
There is a lot I just don't know...that I don't have the answers to, but this I do know...if I pray this prayer...if the story of these little ones is meant to be a catalyst in my heart, God will fling wide a door for me walk through. Then the questions will be: Will I walk through? Will I be able to give of time, thought and money EVEN IF it is painful? Oh, Lord, I hope so. I hope I have the courage to be generous with me life.
Love to you all....