We Need to Help
As I drove past them and turned onto the road, my mind had quickly justified itself and had moved on to other matters. Suddenly Elie yelled out, "We need to go help those people! We have to turn around." I gritted my teeth, and not wanting to squash the generous spirit of my daughter, reluctantly turned around, and went back.
We got out of the car and went up to talk with them. the man told me his story, and it was very believable. I could even see the car with blankets pulled out where they had been sleeping. While the shelters in our town were full, he knew of a place an hour away he could stay if he could just get some money for gas. Fortunately, there was a gas station right next to us, so I had him pull his car up and we put enough gas in it to get him where he was headed. Elie and I prayed with them and sent them on their way.
OK, so that's one point for Elie. But while she served as a voice of conscious (or conduit of the Holy Spirit), she didn't have a big role to play. It's not like she payed for the gas.
Give it All
A little background. Elie gets an allowance, 50¢ each week. Megan and I have never mentioned tithing to our kids. We just tell them God wants us to give generously to Him to help others and let them decide how much to give. From this allowance, Elie and her brother and sister have been saving up together to get a weasel ball they see at the toy store at the mall every time we pass by. This week they would have enough for the $10 toy.
So when I asked the question, I thought she would maybe give a dollar or so. Elie thought really carefully for a minute. "I want to give it all."
Did I hear her right? Megan and I questioned her to make sure she knew what she was doing. "I can save my money again and get a weasel ball anytime," she told us. "But those kids need water to drink and I can help."
The point of this tale is not just to brag on my daughter (which I could do all day), but to highlight the attitude of generosity so lacking in myself. I wonder if some of you are like me? We are generous when it is convenient. We are generous with our surplus. We do enough good to look like good people, but not to get carried away with it.
Because We Can
Proverbs 3:27 reminds us, "Do not withhold good from those to who it is due when it is in your power to act." Doing good things is not just for times of convenience. it is for every time we are able, every time we have the power to do it.
When I look at Jesus, I don't see someone who casually did good for others. He lived every moment to do good. Even when he tried to withdraw for some much needed rest and solitude, he could not keep himself from having compassion on the crowds, spending an entire day with them, teaching them, healing them, feeding them (Matt 14).
Jesus redeemed us to make a people, "eager to do good works." (Titus 2:14) So, if I am trying to follow Jesus I will be moved from casual good works to an urgency to help others.
A lot of people trying to justifying moderation in giving say "you can't help everyone." And they're right. But we can help a lot of people. I suspect that every one of you reading this, like me are among the richest 25% of the world's population. While American society might not consider you rich, you have all your needs met as well as some disposable income.
As we move together toward following Jesus, I challenge you to join me as I examine my life, my money, my time to see how I can best use what I have been given to serve those in need. What can we do to help others? I think this is what Jesus is calling us to, to do no more and no less than whatever we can.