A beautiful, hand-crafted piece of art, she took it off and gave it to me as she was leaving. What!? Why would she do that?
"Stop, don't give me your necklace!" I cried, as she was unlatching it at the back of her neck. "You are not seriously giving that to me?!" I said, still trying to stifle the shocking generosity I was experiencing.
"I am." she said in a matter-of-fact tone, with gentle smile. "I wanted to bring you a gift and I didn't. So, I will give you this."
Last night, I watched the awe-striking beauty of living in such freedom from things...
As A.W. Tozer might suggest that her possessions do not posses her. She was not clinging to this thing...
"There can be no doubt that this possessive clinging to things is one of the most harmful habits in the life. Because it is so natural, it is rarely recognized for the evil that it is. It's outworkings are tragic." ~A. W. TozerLast night I saw open handed generosity, I watched it and received it. I felt it's kindness and sweetness placed and secured around my neck.
Having lived most of our adult lives overseas and on faith-based financial support, we have the unique opportunity to see generosity in the Body of Jesus daily. We really do. Early in our ministry, living on the donations of churches and individuals was a horrible burden for me---a difficult struggle for my heart. The tightness of a small budget, the ambiguity of how much would come in each month, the pressure and judgement I felt living "on other people's money"... all of these felt heavy and hard.
And, now, instead--- I love it. I truly love it.
In the 15 years of living overseas, something has changed deeply inside of me. God has taught me something right and real. He has shown me that it is ALL His money, through His kids, to support His kids and His kingdom.
All of it--- all of us--- all His.
I get to see God provide through His people every day. Through the generosity and faithfulness of His people, I have seen His provision and blessing in abundance. I know each phone bill is paid because one of His children, my brother, has given to support us. I know that each time I get on an airplane, He has bought the airline ticket and used some of His children to give us that gift.
And God's people are a very generous lot, I might say. Not only is God using His kids to pay our rent and our medical bills; but we have above and beyond our "needs". There have been times when we have been given temporary houses and cars in spades. We have been given gift cards and "fun money"! ...And, books and coats and ipods. And yesterday I was given a necklace. Why would she do that?! My heart still reels with the profound generosity in the act of giving and receiving. I am still overwhelmed by the gift.
We talked about it as a family as we drove away last night. What fun it is to watch generosity!! She blessed my heart--- deeply. She blessed "my socks off!" with her gift. And, I wondered out loud if maybe her heart felt blessed in the giving. Her smile and gentleness indicated she was touched by the gift, as well.
It IS certainly good fun to give, too, isn't it?!
Both of us blessed. Both of us living out, living under, the beauty of giving: the giving and the receiving.
For, "this is love..." (I John 4:10) and "this is love..." (Romans 5:8)