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When it Hurts to Give

Recently a family asked if we had any extra shoes we could give them. I do happen to have 2 pair of tennis shoes. One older pair for the garden and muddy weather and my good pair. I like my shoes. They are New Balance, a brand I can only buy when I’m in the States. This family of six, however has one pair of good shoes for the entire family. That means their four adolescents (1 boy and 3 girls) share the same pair of shoes. When I found out that extra piece of information, I was willing to give them my second pair.

We have such abundance that it is so easy to forget that even a second pair of old shoes is an extreme luxury for others. I should be willing to give my extra pair of shoes, my shirts, my food, my clean water… to those who have nothing.

But that’s not where giving ends.

I felt like I am being tested even more on what my role is as a giver. Before we came to Paraguay we asked a veteran missionary what we’d need. She told us that we would certainly need an electric blanket. There are none to be found here. It’s one item that we didn’t sell in our garage sale back in the day and something that’s important in facing winter months in unheated homes.

When the colder weather arrived a few months ago, we were asked by the daughter of an elderly couple for an electric blanket. For two months I’ve kept my mouth shut about it. I’ve got what she needs and I didn’t want to hand it over. Well, the lady kept asking us about an electric blanket. In my flesh, I didn’t want to give away my only electric blanket. I was being selfish. My husband asked me to pray about giving our blanket. The honest truth is that I didn’t even want to pray about it! I feel it’s more “doable” to give when it’s out of abundance, but when it comes to sacrificial giving, I’m not usually the first to raise my hand. However, I came across this passage written by David, “I will not sacrifice to my God that which costs me nothing.” In other words, it’s easy to give when you have a lot, but the true test of our love for God is giving when it hurts. The widow who gave her last two mites (cents) to the Lord, not the wealthy who gave out of abundance, was mentioned by Jesus as a true giver.

I know that I need to be a more cheerful giver. “God, Help me not to be stingy, even when I can find great excuses as to why I deserve to “hang on” to MY belongings. I know that the only reason I’ve been entrusted with so much, is so I can give much.

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