I am blown away with the response from last week’s blogs on our current financial situation and my consumer-addiction. I want to share with you a response I got from one of my friends. With her permission I am posting her response. She and her family have gone through some incredibly hard situations, yet she writes this. Wow. People like this are what I call “Culture Rebels”.
“Just wanted to write you in response to your two recent blogs and let you know you are not alone. While this Christmas for us is one that we celebrate Mike having work…our whole situation is still very far into the red because of him not working for most of this year. There were times I wondered if we would be next out on the street it was that bleak.
The reason I am writing is because for a few recent Christmas’s we had nothing…not even sure where rent would come from. My husband was always the optimist and constant reminder of Gods faithfulness and I was the worrier, wondering if we would have to ask family if we could move in with them.
I believe God took us through seasons of poverty to humble us, not because we were arrogant or proud, but because we needed to know what it felt like to be on the other side..to be needy…to not be able to ‘give’ and to be gracious on the receiving end of things. Long ago, I used to love to give to families in need but did so with a heart that was sympathetic at best. Now when I give it is with full empathy and compassion to those in need…it is with a heart more like Christ. And what better way to give is that?
Im still learning. We still have a long way to go to get through all those months of not having work, but I believe in taking time to really see where God is in all of it. Its quite surprising sometimes.”
Wow, did you catch that? Her giving went from sympathy to empathy. That’s a powerful concept.
I heard a similar story of a group of people going through such circumstances. They were tested by many troubles, and found themselves very poor. But they were filled with such joy, which overflowed in radical generosity.
They didn’t only give what they could afford, but far more. They considered it a privilege. They had never even met the people they gave to.
Who does that? Who gives radically, beyond the ordinary, when their finances are in ruins?!….
….. People who have gone from giving out of sympathy to empathy. People like I’ve mentioned: My friend and the Macedonians mentioned in 2 Corinthians 8 in the Bible.
There’s a depth and understanding that comes from a broken experience. It creates a dissatisfaction inside in regards to what most are happy to tolerate. You don’t want anyone to suffer as you have.
That very place fuels a fire of generosity that comes right from the gut.
“The authenticity of your love is tested by your generosity. It’s when your mouth meets your wallet and you find out the heart’s true state”. (inspired by 1 Corinthians 8:8)