The Illumination of the Stingy Giver

"Mom! Someone's here to ask you something."

I was coming out of the back porch after fetching a snack for the kiddos and noticed the woman from down the road standing at the gate with a clipboard and a smile on her face.

I guess her to be at least a decade older than I. She's southern and in many other ways, different than I. For one, her heart is much bigger than mine. She often has at least five foster children living with her and her husband. Their monetary compensation for taking them in is pitifully little and from what little she tells me, it has been tough.

This day, she came with her clipboard in hopes I might buy brownies or cupcakes towards her trip South, as she assists her mom for two weeks during and after her bone marrow transplant. I was polite, but I was not eager. I hedged as I looked at the prices, 6 brownies for 5 dollars...12 for ten..and so on. I tightly smile as in my hesitation I am relaying reluctance to sign up for the brownies I don't really want.

We chit chat for a few moments about the children, I go no where deep with her and do not invite her in.  I ask her when I should expect the brownies and she assures me mid-April. "Have a nice rest of the day!" I call out as she walks back home.


Last night as I was making chocolate cookies for myself, I listened to a recent message given by a friend's husband who heads up a well-known, well-respected nonprofit micro-finance organization. He passionately spoke of the people that made up the early Christian church. There was a group among them that was poorer than others, but they astounded onlookers at their passion for giving all that they had at the mere mention of a need. Every day they would beg God to show them a need...any need. As He did, even though they themselves had so little, they would give and give with great joy at being a part of something bigger than themselves. They would have bought all the cookies and cupcakes it would have taken to get my neighbor an airline ticket to and from Georgia. They would have been chomping at the bit to be a part of it.


As I was listening, my new Homegood's lamps glowed in the living room (see last post for reference). The tags were still attached. The nudge had not been condemning, but it had been clear and it had been humbling. I am the daughter of a most loving and generous King, but I had been living beneath my station, made evident by the recollection of my stingy giving to a sister in need. The "wild abandon" in my life had been misplaced, the lamps were representation of it and suddenly their illumination was glaringly offensive.

I looked at the clock.
It was 9pm. Homegood's closed at 9:30.
I took the cookies out of the oven. I went into the living room, wordlessly unplugged the lamps, kissed my husband and told him I'll be back. He didn't ask. I didn't say.

When I got to the empty store, ten minutes from closing time and placed the pretty lamps on the counter, the cashier asked if anything was wrong with them.

"No. They are just not a good match for my home"...or my station as a daughter of the King, I thought. I am 'grown up' enough to know better, but in the dull roar of life's monotony, I had regressed.

Many times, a purchase is just a purchase and it's no big deal.
In this instance however, the "irresistible" lamps illuminated
an area in my life that needed to be exchanged for something better, more eternal and more a reflection of my Father.The money I had so easily spent on light fixtures was reallocated to the need HE had put before me and my spirit was put at ease in the light of obedience.

And just to make it perfectly clear, there are a whole slew of other dusty and darkened corners of my life that need to be illuminated and exchanged. I simply wrote about this one in response to yesterday's ridiculous post. 

In a word, what I'm saying is, Grow up. You're kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.
~Matthew 5:48



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