What Poor People Can Give

I’m not rich in terms of money.  I have very little to give.  Really, at this stage in life, I have none that I really can spare without sacrificing something that my husband and I really need.  I’ve been even less well endowed than I am now.  But all along the way, God has moved me to give sacrificially to those who have more needs to be met than I have.  And do you know something? During those times, though I’ve felt like a millionaire in terms of earthly goods compared to them, I’ve received some of the most priceless gifts from the poorest people.

In Asia, I received a shawl hand knit by the mother of a college girl I made friends with while teaching English as a Second Language.  Another sweet girl gave me a small teddy bear that said, “I Love You,” on it.

In Thailand, Sipon faithfully cooked up a meal of fish and rice for our team when we broke for lunch each day while working on rebuilding the foundation of his house, which had been leveled by the Tsunami.

In Amsterdam, I traded a little money for a beautiful, hand painted cloth from an African Pastor who had come to learn more about how to disciple others in his land at the same conference I was serving as a steward.  I also shared communion with a lovely girl from Moldova, who prayed in her native tongue as we fellowshipped and remembered Christ’s body and blood.

In Kenya, I ate ugali, a wet corn bread type dish that the women of the churches made over fires to serve to us while helping build a church house and reach out to their children.  I accepted large Jack Fruits from women dancing toward me for giving them a small plastic cross necklace.

The people I’ve sought to help have offered so much to me in return.  Yes, the gifts of sponsorship that I’ve offered have been welcomed and put to good use.  But the gifts that they have returned to me have been what kindled the most incredible of relationships, life lessons, and memories.

I often get discouraged that I can’t give more.  But usually while capturing those thoughts to the obedience of Christ, God tends to remind me of the widow’s mites (Luke 21:1-4).  She gave all she could and that was more worthy than the tiny bits that the rich people skimmed off as their offering to the Lord.

I don’t have a lot to give, but I do have things I can sacrifice.

The people who I have helped had less to give than I did, but they gave back to me anyhow.  And most of the time, I couldn’t even hold what it was they gave me.

I couldn’t hold their smiles.

I couldn’t hold their wisdom.

I couldn’t hold their emails.

I couldn’t hold their songs.

I couldn’t hold their prayers.

I couldn’t hold their hugs (for long).

But, I could hold their hearts in mine and they could hold mine in theirs.

Sponsorship and gifts to those desperate for help aren’t about being noble or answering duty’s call.  They’re about offering and sacrifice.  They’re about receiving as much as they are about giving.

When you give to someone who might die, fall into corruption, or never be educated if you didn’t step up to the plate, you get so much.

You get relationship.

If you give anonymously, the impact of your gift is still great.  It fosters goodwill in the people you give to that reminds them they are not forgotten.  It fuels depth and trust in your relationship with God as you recognize that everything you have is His anyway.  It pours depth and breadth into the opportunities to introduce the rescue and redemption of Christ with those who may never have heard of Him if you didn’t help tangibly rescue them to keep them offer education and keep them alive long enough to hear of the one who moved your heart to give.

If people know the face of the ones giving to them, often, relationships are built that can offer a lifetime of learning from each other and encouraging one another.

My friends Willingstone and Maurice taught me that.

“Poor” people have so much to give.  They need our help desperately.  But we need theirs too.

So what do you say? How about finding out first hand what there is for you to receive by giving.

Here’s an awesome opportunity to help get you started on something nothing in your being but your heart could hold.

One Comment on “What Poor People Can Give”

  1. I love the point of view you took on this post. I love the personal experience and stories you shared. We really do have something to learn from the poor…perhaps that we really all may be poorer than we think, and richer than we think.

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