There’s nothing like acts of generosity that cost you almost nothing to get you feeling good about yourself this Christmas!
One day I came home to find a Christmas hamper had been delivered to our door.
I immediately fell to the ground and wept with gratitude that someone had thought to anonymously love us enough from a distance to deliver tinned ham and out of date shortbread to our family.
Once I had recovered from my outburst of appreciativeness I lugged the hamper inside and began to unpack the contents into the cupboard. (Imagine me in my spotless kitchen with my hair on point if you will.)
It won’t surprise you to know that during the said unpacking of no brand groceries there was some dialogue taking place in my head. Why does my chest hurt? Why does this feel like an act of cowardice and unfriendliness? Why am I such an ungrateful cow?
Because we had just returned from India having sold our whole lives in Australia and so a few groceries were helpful to be sure. And someone had obviously observed our colossal heart ache and failure and thought we needed ….blessing. (shudder)
But what I really needed was someone to sit with me, to ask me if I was ok, to cry with me, to pray with me. Someone to know me.
And anyone that knows me would not send me Diet Coke.
Do we really care what people want or need?
Or do we care about feeling good about our generosity?
It’s a bit like that time I gave my left over pizza to a woman living on the street with her newborn baby.
We had filled our stomachs to overflowing at a pizza restaurant in Kolkata, but there were a few slices left. I don’t want to boast so I’ll try and say this humbly, but we decided that we could give the extra we had (once we had had far more than we needed) to someone in need.
I know right, I’m getting a mansion in heaven.
So we carried our pizza in a box all the way home, because we knew there was a woman who lived in the gutter with her family just outside our house.
We found her, a baby swaddled in a dirty rag and children playing in the gutter.
We warmly presented her with 3 slices of left over pizza, and damn, it felt good, what a rush. Is this what Jesus would do? I’m thinking yes, no doubt. #blessed
She sat there with a box made out of the same cardboard as her home and fed pizza to her children. Because she doesn’t have the luxury of being an ungrateful cow. But when I smiled triumphantly and turned my back to escort my family into our home, I wonder how she felt?
I had decided to be generous on my own terms, I had decided what she needed, it hadn’t cost me anything.
I didn’t want to know her.
It was an act of selfishness.
It was hurtful.
As I think of her now, I deeply wish I had taken the time to sit with her, to ask her if she was ok, to cry with her, to pray with her.
Sometimes our helping hurts.
So, let’s stop thinking that giving “things” is the answer.
Let’s not congratulate ourselves for our generosity.
Let’s know each other.
Let’s know God.