Humbled by Generosity

I was on the phone helping a friend schedule appointments in the States when the email arrived. The notification flashed across the screen and was gone.
All I saw was Paypal. Like a best seller around a librarian, that kind of email doesn’t stay unread for long. So I swiped four fingers north to reveal the open programs on my Mac, multitasking like a stay at home mom with triplets. I single-tapped Mail and my heart hit a speed bump.
It shot up for an instant and immediately fell crashing back down….being jerked violently, by the gravity of humility. Humbled again by someone else’s generosity.
We don’t deserve that, I wanted to say out loud. Not us.
Not from them. We’re nobodies. They work hard for every penny. They need that.
Photo credit: Dan Johnson on Creation Swap

Photo credit: Dan Johnson on Creation Swap

The gift didn’t come from a mega-church. It didn’t come from a small church. It didn’t come from a church at all. It came from a single family. Husband, wife, and 3 kids. A generous family.

It came from the kind of family that buys Great Value when they might really want Kraft. It came from the kind of family that saves and scratches. It came from the kind of family that wants others to know the Jesus that they know.
Around here that kind of stuff is not taken for granted. Without those kinds of families, we pack it up and go back to the ‘Merica.
Left and right churches have told us that times are tough. I know. They are tough here too.
They are so tough here that people who would have never accepted donated clothes a few years ago, are now putting Trinity’s old pink tennis shoes on their little knobby kneed boys. They’re being humbled.
DSC_2568They’re so tough that they’re saying more and more often, “Pastor, they’re going to shut my power off if I don’t pay tomorrow. My husband hasn’t gotten paid in two months. Can the church help?”
Since maybe half the church is employed and most of those are women, I take the bill home and pay it.
With a smile, men here are saying, “I got laid off, so I’ll be at church on Thursday night.” Husbands, with wives and a couple of kids.
Their once olive skin is now pale from anemia because they can’t afford meat. So, Nina buys vienna sausages on sale and puts them in a basket at church for people to take home. A lot of the church used to participate. They can’t any more.
No, that kind of stuff is not taken lightly around here. Not a donation from one family that amounts to more than what some 300 member churches send us in years. Yes, years.

So, today I put a face this conclusion that I arrived at long ago. The greatest blessings come from the most unexpected sources. That’s why there so awesome. We never expected it.

Oftentimes the people with the greatest ability to bless others contribute the least and those who have the least to spare and the most to lose, end up making the greatest impact.
It may come as a shock to you, but our largest supporting churches are not the ones with the largest membership rolls or weekly attendance. They are the ones with the largest burdens. They are the ones who care a whole lot about us and a whole lot about the ministry the Lord has given us here.
Don’t get me wrong. Every gift is important, but that kind of generosity is both rare and humbling.
Monday was April Fool’s Day, but this was no prank. Rather than being tricked, I was broken. By a husband, wife and 3 kids.
When so many others are saying how bad things are, some are glorifying God through Paypal and writing notes like this:
Please don’t take this as from us but from God! We love y’all dearly and pray for your family everyday. After I read about the visa…God put it on our heart to give. Thank you for your faithfulness to our wonderful Lord.
No. Thank you for your faithfulness to our wonderful Lord.
Humbled by one family’s generosity, we’ll keep sowing seeds, whether that’s preaching in the pulpit or buying canned meat.
What about you, have you ever been humbled by someone else’s generosity? I’d love to hear about it.
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  • The Domestic Fringe

    Praise God for His provision.

    • Michael

      Yes, ma’am! He is worthy.

  • Mom

    Though I know God is faithful, His provision always suprises me. He never fails. I thank God for your friends who were generous and obedient and willing to be used by God for the benefit of your ministry.

    • Michael

      Me too, Mom. Already miss you guys. Can’t wait till next summer.

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