Friday, October 28, 2005

Deep Generosity

Last week we celebrated Lexi’s birthday with our church family in Gorlovka, Ukraine. The party was attended by children, teens, and plenty of adults. Lora fixed lots of snacks, we played games and everyone had a wonderful time. During the party I saw something that made me stop and praise God. While everyone was giving Lexi presents, one little girl left the party; she ran away from the worship room, but quickly returned. She had a grocery bag with a present in it. The present was obviously not new. It was a stuffed animal and a small ring. We immediately recognized that Lena had gone home and gotten Lexi presents from her treasured items. Leanna said that she knows that the ring was Lena’s favorite ring. I stood there in awe.
Some claim that the human heart is evil to the core, and there is ample evidence for such an assertion. And yet, there are moments of indescribable goodness. Lena wanted to give something good to Lexi and so she gave things that were precious to her. I call this “deep generosity.” It is a holy act. Every time Jesus saw it, he praised the people who did the deeply generous acts. Remember the woman at the temple who gave her last two coins? The disciples recognized her gift as the small thing it was, but Jesus recognized it as deep generosity – a greater gift than those larger gifts that were not deeply generous. Remember the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet with expensive perfume? Some grumbled that the act was a waste of important resources, but Jesus praised her loving act as preparation for his burial. Again he respected deep generosity.
Standing in front of the woman at the temple, or in front of Lena at Lexi’s birthday party is a holy moment. It causes us to look closely at our own hearts. What do you see there? Is there a generosity that comes from deep inside in recognition of what God has done for you? Not surprisingly, the only people who do not stand in awe of deep generosity are those who have never practiced it!

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