“In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.” ~Elizabeth Gilbert
I traveled to Nicaragua this summer with Shaun Groves and Compassion International. I’m still reeling from it. Today, perhaps, even as you read this, I’ll be talking about my trip publicly for the first time, so I hope you’ll pray for me. My suitcase was packed to the gills with gifts when I left the airport that steamy June Sunday, but it didn’t take me long to figure out that I wasn’t the one bringing the gifts that mattered. Our meager attempts at generosity will always be heaped back on us a hundred fold.
When I met my sponsored child, Diana, for the first time, I was gripped with emotion. Her dark eyes seemed to see right through me. I knew right away that she was one of those little ones with an old soul, who knows way more than she can articulate. We became fast friends over hand games and lip gloss and nail polish. We sat on her cardboard bed, playing games, getting to know each other, and hoping that time would stand still. On the day I was leaving, she held tight to my hand and asked if I was coming back. She’s too young to care about what $38 a month means, but she knows when hope has been planted in the heart. I had the same gift given to me and it changed the trajectory of my life forever.
Generosity is not about money. It’s about relationship. It’s about giving ourselves away to others in ways that matter. I don’t think David Cross ever gave me money. He gave me hundreds of hours of his time. He gave me love, acceptance, and hope. All the things money can never buy. My heart is full of gratitude to him and to all the people who have poured themselves into my life.
What if we are uniquely gifted and situated to bless the very people that happen to cross our paths everyday? What if they aren’t there by chance? What if we were looking, everyday, for those people in our lives that we are meant to shower with time and hope and love? Our offerings, however meager or great, might just change the world.
Day 10 Challenge: Identify something in your life you are reluctant to share. Is it your time, your resources, your heart, your best effort? What holds you back from giving yourself away to others? Is it fear? Is it self-centeredness? Worry, that there won’t be enough left for yourself? Look for ways to share your wealth, your resources, and your time with others. Do it today. Maybe you’ve been wanting to sponsor a child, or maybe you’ve thinking about volunteering your time at a soup kitchen or pregnancy crisis center. You have so much to give and share. Your unique gifts and offerings were meant to be lavished on others. Lavish away!
For information on sponsoring a child, click here.
Be sure to read Ruth’s corresponding post, Less Greed.