Generosity

Barefoot on Sunday Morning

Blog_BarefootHe came barefoot to church every Sunday morning. Unaffected by the questioning glances, he stood quietly in his ragged clothing. Emma was drawn to him, and she determined to find out why.

When service ended, Emma hurried out the doors and waited until she spotted his bare feet amidst the flood of Sunday shoes. Head down and hands in pockets, he walked toward the alley. She followed.

“Excuse me. I have something to give you.” She held out a small envelope.

He looked up, brows furrowed above his warm brown eyes.

“This is for you…so you can have some shoes to wear to church on Sundays.”

His lips curved into a smile. “You’re very kind. But, I don’t go to church on Sundays.”

Emma tilted her head and looked from him to the building and back.

“I don’t believe we’ve met. Name’s Joshua.” He held out his rugged hand.

“I’m Emma. But…I’ve seen you in church. Every Sunday.”

“Oh, the building? Yes. But if you want to see my church, follow me.”

He proceeded down the alley, and Emma followed until they came to a series of row houses surrounding a small, dusty playing field where children ran barefoot.

Joshua turned to her. “Meet me here tomorrow.”

And she did. Each day that week, Emma came to the field and watched as Joshua delivered shoes to different families. He’d spend the day making shoes and the evening passing them out. By the end of the week, many of the children were wearing brand new shoes.

Emma watched as they played. “I don’t understand. Why…”

He smiled gently as the children ran happily across the field. “I like to give all I have, and to remember all I have to be grateful for.”

The next Sunday, Emma saw one of the families from the row houses walking in to church. The mother was wearing the Sunday shoes Emma had given her; the father and their boy were wearing the shoes Joshua had given them. Emma smiled, savoring the feeling of the cold floor beneath her bare feet.

Photo Credit: File:Barefoot on red dirt.jpg – Wikimedia Commons

Advertisements

The Beggar

Blog_Beggarat first glance he’s just a beggar…

a blur in the background
of my immutable schedule

an unwelcome disruption
to my carefully laid plans

his greedy hands reaching out
for my hard-earned wealth

unworthy
of my well-deserved luxuries

unequal to the value
of my precious time

but when i take a closer look,
i see a mirror reflection

helpless eyes that could be mine
if hope had escaped my grasp

desperate hands that would reach out
if opportunity had eluded me

hardships i would bear
if fate had dealt me another hand

he is no beggar
he is a reminder of what can be lost

he is a messenger
of what has been forgotten

he is a friend
inviting me to find my humanity

 

Source: More than a Neighbor

Photo Credit:BEGGAR  | Street Photography © 2014 www.r… | | by richardovertoom

Precious Things

Blog_FlowersinHand

Nothing this side of heaven is permanent. It’s in vain that we cling to that which is destined to fade away. What’s most precious to us gains far greater value when given away.

Source: Hold on Loosely

Photo Credit: Flower and open hands | Flickr – Photo Sharing! by einstraus

Hold on Loosely

Blog_HandsLettingGoI keep thinking about that lost little boy I crossed paths with last week. My heart feels heavy to think he was lost to begin with, but also grateful God orchestrated everything so perfectly for him to be found before anything horrible could happen. And at peace, now, to know he’s safe with his family.

The most powerful memory of that day is of his mother embracing him with all her might, tears running down her cheeks in relief. The other is of my kids, following him to the door, their favorite toys in hand, insisting the little boy take them home. My son held a racecar track about as big as him in his chubby little hands and held it out to the boy, “Here! You need this at your house.”

On witnessing this gesture, my first thought was, “No, that’s your favorite toy! You can’t give it away.” But the beauty of it all quickly erased that idea. In their desire to comfort the boy, my children were offering their very best, and without hesitation. Isn’t that how giving should be?

My son was holding so loosely to his toy that it nearly broke apart in his hands. And that’s how we should hold to everything we own…loosely. Nothing this side of heaven is permanent. It’s in vain that we cling to that which is destined to fade away. What’s most precious to us gains far greater value when given away.

Children somehow grasp these truths more readily than those of us who’ve been around for a while, though we should know better. We’ve been around long enough to see just how temporary things are. So why do we hold on tightly to things that don’t last?

Maybe we’ve come to believe that these things give us significance, instead of knowing these things only become significant when we let go of them.

When my children willingly sacrificed their best toys to comfort their new friend, they created a memory more precious than anything we own. I’ll never forget the purity and innocence of their generosity. It inspires me to hold everything with an open hand, knowing it was never mine to keep.

“The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2:17)

Photo Credit: Hands | Flickr – Photo Sharing! Hands | by Moyan_Brenn

Not Quite Generous

I was wondering why my baby boy was going through food so quickly while the puppy was getting so chubby. So when they thought I wasn’t watching, I spied on them and discovered the baby was feeding the puppy his extra food. It seems they had an unspoken food-sharing agreement going on behind my back. Whenever the baby had an abundance of food, he was more than happy to share with the puppy. But when I gave him only a couple bites at a time, he was a little more stingy with his offerings—much to the puppy’s dismay.

It’s easy to give when we have abundance. Our local newspaper runs an annual tally of the nation’s most generous people. Usually those featured are the wealthiest among us. It’s a noble thing, to give. But is giving truly generous when it comes only from abundance? If there’s no sacrifice, is it generosity at all?

I’ve heard it said that generosity is not measured by how much a person gives, but by what percentage, and what’s left over after the giving. It’s admirable that a millionaire gives a big chunk of their income to charity, but it’s not so hard to do when there’s mansions, vacation homes, luxury cars, and an infinite supply of gourmet food waiting when the giving’s done.

The more interesting newspaper article would be…who lives on the least so they could give the most? Of course, this article wouldn’t exist, because sacrificial giving is most often matched with genuine humility. When giving is self-serving—to draw attention to self and to inflate an image of nobility, it is not generosity but selfishness in disguise.

Lord, I pray you’d give me a truly generous heart—that I would give even when it’s hard and when it hurts. Let me give abundantly and sacrificially, with humility. I don’t want my giving to be self-serving, but to come from a heart of genuine love for others.

Source: Not Quite Generous

Not Quite Generous

Giving Love from Bing ImagesI was wondering why my baby boy was going through food so quickly while the puppy was getting so chubby. So when they thought I wasn’t watching, I spied on them and discovered the baby was feeding the puppy his extra food. It seems they had an unspoken food-sharing agreement going on behind my back. Whenever the baby had an abundance of food, he was more than happy to share with the puppy. But when I gave him only a couple bites at a time, he was a little more stingy with his offerings—much to the puppy’s dismay.

It’s easy to give when we have abundance. Our local newspaper runs an annual tally of the nation’s most generous people. Usually those featured are the wealthiest among us. It’s a noble thing, to give. But is giving truly generous when it comes only from abundance? If there’s no sacrifice, is it generosity at all?

I’ve heard it said that generosity is not measured by how much a person gives, but by what percentage, and what’s left over after the giving. It’s admirable that a millionaire gives a big chunk of their income to charity, but it’s not so hard to do when there’s mansions, vacation homes, luxury cars, and an infinite supply of gourmet food waiting when the giving’s done.

The more interesting newspaper article would be…who lives on the least so they could give the most? Of course, this article wouldn’t exist, because sacrificial giving is most often matched with genuine humility. When giving is self-serving—to draw attention to self and to inflate an image of nobility, it is not generosity but selfishness in disguise.

Lord, I pray you’d give me a truly generous heart—that I would give even when it’s hard and when it hurts. Let me give abundantly and sacrificially, with humility. I don’t want my giving to be self-serving, but to come from a heart of genuine love for others.

True Love…is GENEROUS (Day 39, #50ShadesOfTrueLove)