Sunday, November 4, 2012

Small Group Week 1: Becoming a Cheerful Giver

Inside every Christian is a God-inspired desire for a generous life: a life tailored around His example of selflessness and sacrifice.
I don't write every week about our Small Group meetings but, tonight marked Week 1 of November's "Hitting Play through Disciplines of Action - Becoming a Cheerful Giver" and it hit me like a ton of bricks.
We have been fortunate throughout our life together, the Mister and I.  We've tried our best to be responsible with money.  I think I can safely say, for the most part we have.  There are always those instances when hindsight is 20/20 and you can't help but say "That was silly.  We should've done this..."  We've never had to borrow money from friends or relatives.  I don't say that in a high and mighty sorta way, but am humbled by the things that've allowed us to live and give the way we have.  We've been extremely blessed in many, many ways.
What are some ways that God has been extravagantly generous to you?
Wow, how do I count the ways?  Recently, we have experienced so much in part to so many people. 
We came to this little town to start a new life together.  It all began with a dream after an unfortunate turn of events.  People called us crazy but, once on the path, friends helped point us in the direction we needed to go.  We never knew how well-received we'd be as outsiders into a new place.  It was a bit off the beaten path, a little out of the way but, he came to church here.  He told me of the town and I was blown away once I experienced it for myself.
We met incredible, incredible people who opened their home to us without even knowing them.  It was nothing short of amazing, their hospitality, their love.  Fast forward, after relaying a conversation Mister C and friends had, I could only think of how I would do this differently if given the chance again.  Tears flooded my eyes and I realized quite a bit of my angst and troubles here have been over the details of it all.  How this all seemed incredibly unfair.  In addition to feeling far, far from home, I've felt like we were a burden, such a burden.
After tonight's study, I realized a few things.  Through their tremendous blessings, we've been able to pay it forward.  It's not always been a financial sacrifice, some times it's been giving of my time or my skills but, because of them I've been able to...
  • bake pies for the Fall Festival (eleven to be exact) with proceeds benefiting our church
  • make casseroles, pies, desserts and other food for the 2nd Monday Meal
  • watch the W kids when needed (but not nearly as much as I'd like)
  • collaborate on meals so that we may fellowship with the W family and lessen the burden of feeding 10 mouths
  • donate a generous amount of money to a family in need
  • lastly, my children are ecstatic to see me at school events and performances
I'm sure there are more Mister could add but, that's a start.  I hope our friends find it honoring that we haven't squabbled away money on frivolous things but, allowed God to use us as conduits of His love, poured out into the world and into the hearts of all those who we touch daily.  This community which has so warmly embraced us deserves to see, feel and hear the love of God each and every day.

While this makes me see our time here in a different light, it doesn't lessen the heaviness that's lay so long on my heart.  I plot in my mind how to make this up to them.  I try to smile but, really, I want to hug them and weep on their shoulder and tell them how regretful I am that we've been here this long.  Again, I am reminded that we've been able to accomplish many acts of generosity because of them.  And so, I try not to dwell on this.  I try to see how generosity has trickled down from one to another to another.  That the generosity and patience shown to us is undeserving, like the love of The Father, who sent his only son for us.  This is the kind of love and generosity, we should show others daily.  Watch this...