Thursday, November 21, 2013

Rich Poor People

They [churches in Macedonia] are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity. ~ 2 Corinthians 8:2

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son...  ~ Jesus

Have you ever met someone who is generous but not joyful? I can't recall meeting a generous person that isn't also a joyous person. My experience is that such people do not necessarily express their joy with a big effervescent personality. Some of the generous people I know actually border on being shy Maybe you have had the opportunity to observe generous people over the long haul, and like me, would also testify that they remain generous--even though life has brought them their fair share of trouble. My mom is that kind of generous and joyful.

Each of us has probably dreamed of coming into a great fortune. Sandy and I have been driving down the highways and seen the MegaBucks and PowerBall advertisements, which have spawned conversation about what we would do with our millions. Have you done that? You know, give a few million to each sibling, parents, friends, or favorite charity. Travel the globe, build houses for people who don't have one, quit your job, buy your company and fire your boss, set up trusts funds for your kids and grandkids. The list goes on and on.

But that's not what generosity is really about. What is generosity then? It's about having a generous heart that is compelled to give. Most of the generous people I know don't have a lot of money, but they do a lot of heart. They still find non-monetary ways to be generous. Their disposition toward whatever possessions of time, money, or abilities they have are seen as assets to meaningfully give away. No matter their resources--abundant or meager--they find a way to give. And like them, we can be poor as church mice, and yet still be generous. They are the offspring of the Believers in Macedonia, exceeding expectations when it comes to generosity. We, too, can be poor as church mice, and yet still be know as generous.

We are entering a season of giving thanks for what we have received. But maybe it's been a lean year, and though there is always something to be thankful for, it's been a tough one. Love, respect, justice, and care have been withheld--leaving your soul with an empty stomach. Sadness is hovering around you. In the midst of such a personal famine, could it be that the best thing to do is to find a way to be generous?

Those early Believers gave out of their poverty. In return they received joy. Stop and think about it…isn't that what we all want--joy? Let's choose to be rich poor people.


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