Sunday, March 11, 2007

Giving until it hurts

For a couple of weeks now I have been thinking a lot about what it truly means to give until it hurts. Being in Honduras has opened my eyes to a new way of living. It has reminded me of how little some people have while others live comfortable lives. Then a few weeks ago I witnessed one of the sweetest acts of kindness I could have imagined. One morning Deborah mentioned that she liked Dilcia's earrings. The day went on and right before it was time for Dilcia to leave she came into the apartment to find Deborah and gave her those earrings simply because Deborah had liked them. Dilcia works for us...she doesn't have a lot and works hard for what she has. To give her earrings away without a second thought simply because someone else thought they were pretty is an amazing gesture. I mean how many times does someone tell you they like your shirt, earrings, shoes, etc. and how often does the thought of giving that item away come into your mind. Rarely. Then today I opened my devotional up and saw that todays title was "You can't Buy Happiness." It went on to say this

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:16-18
According to an article in USA TOday, you can't buy happiness-no matter how rich you become. In fact, University of Illinois psychologist Ed Diener was quoted in the story as saying "Materialism is toxic for happiness." True happiness doesn't come from acquiring things for oneself; true happiness comes from giving to others. I am not saying shopping is bad. I am, however, saying that Jesus' words "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35) are true. God created us to be givers because we are made in His image, and He is the greatest give of all. He gave His one and only Son to die on a cross so that we could have eternal life with Him. As Christians, the desire to give should be strong in us, too. If you have felt unfulfilled and less than happy lately, look at you own generosity. Have you become a taker more than a giver? When is the last time you looked forward to placing a tithe in the offering plate? Have you recently done anything totally unselfish for someone else? If it has been too long, then get back into the giving mode. Call the frazzled single mother in your neighborhood and offer to watch her children for awhile. Invite that widower in you church over for dinner and fellowship. Buy school supplies for an underprivileged child. And do it all unto the Lord. You will find that giving is the greatest high.

I have realized that I never knew the meaning of giving until it hurts. I have never had to live a life of want and I'm guessing most of you haven't either. I've never known what it felt like to take one of my few pairs of earrings out of my ears and give them to another person. Giving doesn't have to mean taking out a huge chunk of change from the bank and giving it away. It certainly doesn't have to be a big horray of taking it out of your wallet and handing it over. It can be small like babysitting for free or cleaning someones house. It can be something nobody else knows about. We are just called to DO...something. SO I challenge you to do something. I'm not begging for money for here just do something somewhere. If you are called to give give. If you are called to give to here that is great if it is for something else still great. Lets just do something. Lets decide that the world has been messed up for far too long. Lets agree that we HATE seeing a fellow human being living in a shack barely able to get enough money to eat with. Being here has opened my eyes to a whole new world of that. I love these people and wish there were some magic trick to be done to change their lives for the better. Sadly there isn't. The only hope there is would be that WE take a stand and start changing the world. Seems impossible I know but try. Put a dollar in a jar every day for a year and donate it to something. Volunteer somewhere. Pick up trash. ANYTHING! When was the last time any of us gave until it hurt. Again this isn't a plug to get money just some things I've been thinking about. However, if you would like to donate money or items you can contact me or send donations with missions in the memo section to Stockport Church at Market St. Stockport Ohio 43787 or click on the Casa link on the right side of my screen. Lets do something to make a difference.

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