Give Out of Poverty

     Give Out of Poverty.   I saw that saying on social media.  Give out of poverty?  What?! Rather than thinking, aww, what a nice sentiment, I felt a flash of anger. 

     Lord, really?  Have you seen our medical bills?   Do you mean give my time?  Is it to give more of myself, my compassion, my energy?  I’m maxed out.

     But God knows best, and He had other plans for me.   He reminded me of how He blessed those who gave when they had little…the widow who gave her few coins versus the prideful rich man who gave for attention. 

     Then, the crisis hit.  No, not mine.  I had a friend experience an unfathomable crisis in her life.  It’s the worst imaginable.  All of a sudden, God’s voice was loud and clear—now can you give?  This was a call of action, a call of duty. 

     I contacted people to pray.  I asked people to help financially.  I encouraged people to send cards.  And soon, I realized, I had the time, and the energy, and the resources, to “give out of my poverty.”  And, in the midst of that lesson, I lost all focus on myself. 

     Hopelifters, a book by my friend Kathe Wunnenberg, is an excellent resource on how to “spread hope when life hurts.”  Sometimes we honestly don’t know what to say or do when someone else is in a crisis.  Wunnenberg shows us how Jesus brought hope to others in practical ways:  He met physical needs, He met emotional needs, and He met spiritual needs. 

     Further, as we help others during their suffering journey (crisis), we can encourage them toward their persevering journey (resilience), be there for their character journey (purpose, meaning, change), and eventually be part of their hope journey (helping others). 

     Now, unfortunately, here’s a word of caution.  Sometimes in doing something charitable, compassionate, we can be taken advantage of.  I gave a $20 bill I could not afford to a young, clean cut man, who claimed he needed gas in his car to drive back home.  He seemed so distraught, his story seemed so awful, he behaved so believably…but later I felt duped, as I reviewed the details.  I never checked the facts out.  I gave him my number, as he offered to pay me back.  I never received a word of thanks or any other communication.  I was upset again, tricked and cheated.  Yet, God still wasn’t done teaching me.  While we should certainly exercise discretion toward who, or how, we give to others, that same week, an automatic deposit showed up in my account that I had forgotten was due me.

     We have much to offer others–our skills and talents, our life experiences, our spiritual gifts.  We can enlist the help of others, too.  The church and small groups can’t always do everything.  We may think “poverty” on our own, but in fact, we are “rich” in resources.  Giving out of poverty is one of the most spiritually enriching things we can do. 

3 thoughts on “Give Out of Poverty”

  1. This is wonderful! Perspectives always change on how much (or little) we have when we are in touch with our King! His generosity is abundant, even in our poverty, meagerness or tiredness! Thanks for sharing this!

  2. Thora, I did not know this friend went to Vineyard. Is it possible for a staff member to reach out to her? She isn’t currently in a small group.

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