Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Generosity... and my lack of faith

Matthew 4:22 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.

Luke 6:38
Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

Matthew 10:42
And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”

One of the things that frustrates me the most- makes me so upset- is when I try to be generous to the children around our complex and the children are selfish, greedy, and won't stop yelling "dame dame dame" give me; give me!

A prime example of this was this Saturday at church when I had pipe cleaners, crayons, coloring pages, and stamps to pass out to the kids. I had plenty of supplies for each child to have an abundance of crayons and stamps to use and share. But as I began to pass them out with a smile on my face, I was quickly greeted by grabbing arms, loud impatient comments, and children asking me for more, more, more. I tried to tell them to share what they had- because if they would have shared their stamps- they could have had an abundance of animal stamps to use for their coloring pages. But instead they selfishly hoarded them for themselves so that I could only give each of them one. I was soon very frustrated and exhausted. I lost my spirit of giving and I angrily told my fellow missionaries "I just can't handle this anymore" while throwing them the rest of the supplies.

I have found that the children's selfish responses- or what I view as selfish- often hinder my willingness to give and be generous to them. Last night I started thinking about many of the children here and realized that the children probably do not mean to be selfish nor rude.. but are simply asking because they need and fear that if they don't push, there might not be enough to go around. For example, with a child that has not had enough food to live and survive on- often that child learns to fight for little amounts of food in order to survive- wherever they may find it. Thus children here are often used to begging, and pushing their way through in order to get what they need in order to survive. It's not an intentional thing but a reaction from a lack of faith. A lack of faith that I can provide them for their needs without them pushing to be first or fighting to get more.

Now I want to change around this story and compare myself to the selfish, greedy children and God to the giving missionary. God has given me everything that I have and ever need. Yet often I never stop asking God more, more, more. And often I hate giving up what God has given me. God has provided me so much, yet often when people in need look at me, and are like your white- you have money- help me, the last thing I want to do is help them. And that is wrong.

Just because I'm a missionary doesn't mean I'm a generous person. Lately God has been convicting me more and more just how selfish my heart is and how far God still has to go with His teaching. Conveniently in this time of teach and practice God has provided me with many children and old ladies in poverty while I'm in town talking to my parents. At first, in the beginning of my sm year, I would simply brush them off and be slightly annoyed that they would ask me for money and beg. But for the last two weeks, I have begin giving something away when they ask whether it be a piece of fruit or a sole or two. Honestly, giving- even in small ways- really changes everything and is very eye opening. When I share just a sole- 33 cents- or enough money for 2 eggs and a piece of bread in Peru- with an older lady, she prays and calls down blessings from God for me. When I give the little kids a piece of fruit, they giggle and jump up and down in excitement.

I'm slowly learning just how blessed it is to give. My faith is being strengthened and tested as I begin to trust that as I am generous, God will continue to provide for my every need. Sometimes I have to remember that to many of the people here in Peru I am rich- only because of God's grace- and therefore it is my responsibility to give and help those in need.

Matthew 10:42
"As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life."

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