You haven’t really lived until you’ve been given the last of what others are living on.
It’s happened to me more than once. This time last year, I stood in the doorway of an apartment in Houston with bags of groceries. I was there on a chilly November day with my family on behalf of Mercy House Global to welcome a family who had just escaped the Taliban in Afghanistan and were being relocated to my city. Due to a hiccup in the resettlement system, hundreds of families were in limbo and it created a massive food insecurity issue.
There were smiles and nods and translated words as we were led to the only furniture in the entire home: a single twin bed.
We sat down, my family of five, lined up one after another and we looked at each other nervously as the host family left the room. The oldest woman in the family returned with one single orange on a plate with a knife.
We watched as she slowly and carefully cut the single fruit into 5 pieces and handed us each a slice on a napkin. She backed out of the room and we were engulfed with the significance of her gift of hospitality.
We ate it slowly and swallowed the understanding that we had just received the best and maybe even the last of this family’s food.
It’s the kind of generosity that has no words. Maybe that’s why it leaves you speechless…
I experienced this kind of generosity again two months ago when I was in Kenya, visiting the family members of some of the 70 pregnant teens that are in some phase of empowerment in their freedom journey to hope. It’s a breathtaking sisterhood of second chances with a lot of diapers.
I sat in the single room home that held more people than square footage and squinted in the oppressive darkness as my eyes adjusted to the lack of light. This home represented the 70th miracle baby born at the maternity homes supported by Mercy House Global. We were visiting vulnerable families empowered with dignified work and every door we walked through gave us only the best.
What is about the world’s normal that gives us an up-close look at our own? Why does my everyday normal afford me with options and opportunities for more when much of the world is forced to make desperate choices because they have so little?
Here we are on the brink of another holiday season where we will spend millions of dollars and a 2022 Gallop poll declares we are the unhappiest we’ve been in years. Those who only spend their money on themselves are the unhappiest people on the planet, according to Giving is the Good Life by Randy Alcorn. So, if keeping everything to ourselves makes us unhappy, than maybe the Bible is correct when it says giving to others will make us happy.
“God comes right out and tells us why he gives us more money than we need. It’s not so we can find more ways to spend it. It’s not so we can indulge ourselves and spoil our children. It’s not so we can insulate ourselves from needing God’s provision. It’s so we can give and give generously (2 Cor. 8:14; 9:11),” he went on to say. “God prospers me not to raise my standard of living, but to raise my standard of giving.”
What are we saving for exactly when the world is dying to be saved?
“It’s curious that the Church has become the most tightfisted at the very time in history when God has provided most generously. There’s considerable talk about the end of the age, and many people seem to believe that Christ will return in their lifetime. But why is it that expecting Christ’s return hasn’t radically influenced our giving? Why is it that people who believe in the soon return of Christ are so quick to build their own financial empires–which prophecy tells us will perish–and so slow to build God’s kingdom? “Randy Alcorn said. “God doesn’t look at just what we give. He also looks at what we keep.”
Hands down, the best holiday memories in my family’s history are the ones where we gave away our time and money to others. The best gifts we recollect are the ones that are tied to experiences helping others. We are forever connected with the people we give to because God forever connects us all.
If our quest is happiness this holiday season, the key isn’t illusive beyond our reach. We stand at the doorway and we hold the key to happiness this holiday season. Jesus said: “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” (Luke 6:38).
Today is Giving Tuesday. It is a day that encourages people to give back because of what we have received. When we give to Kingdom work, we are giving to God himself. He accepts our gift as if it was given to Him directly.
The world has a need. But it’s no greater than our need to meet it.
We hold the keys.
Mercy House Global has provided a second chance home to more than 70 teen pregnant teens in their work to empower vulnerable families in Jesus’ name with hope and opportunity. This month alone, five new girls between the ages of 14 and 15 have been welcomed home. But more stand at the door, waiting for the key to freedom.
Would you give your best gift today to help Mercy House Global meet urgent needs?