Last week I read an article about someone in New York who had become so concerned about members of his community struggling to afford to eat that he built and stocked a food box in his front garden/yard. As his neighbourhood heard about his initiative, people who had the means to helped him keep it stocked and together as a community through generosity they began to take care of those who needed help.
As I read the article I found myself audibly cheering for this incredible individual who decided to so selflessly and generously take care of his neighbours. There is something compelling about stories like this and something very moving about selfless acts of generosity.
Solomon, Israel’s ancient King who was legendary for his wisdom noted in Proverbs 11 v 24 – 26;
“Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything. The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. People curse those who hoard their grain; but they bless the one who sells in time of need.”
The school year comes to a close here in Northern Ireland (NI) at the end of June and as our boys were finishing up it was report time. For all their wild boisterous antics at home their school reports are, on the whole, usually moments we celebrate their hard work and thriving in their learning. But as this year closed something else significantly outshone our pride in one of their academic achievements. It emerged that our eldest son who is by far the most independent and prudent of the three had been sharing his midmorning break time snack with one of his friends who had been arriving to school without a snack for a significant part of the year.
For us it was a far more proud moment to hear he had regularly chosen to give out of what he had to help out his friend and was learning the characteristic of generosity. Generosity is at the heart of Because You’re Loved and deeply centric in the wider culture of our Pais Movement teams.
Here in NI many of the churches that we partner with facilitate food bank projects in various forms. One of my favourite moments this year was one of our teams recruiting seventy volunteers from their local schools to help pack 600 food hampers to be given out in the local community at Christmas time. I love that our team had the wonderful opportunity to facilitate and model the joy of generosity as those seventy young students engaged with them over a number of evenings to put together hampers to enrich the lives of six hundred families in their neighbourhoods.
Long may our world come alive as we live generously open handed!