Lessons from a Giver

Thirty seconds ago a friend walked out of my study to go back to his room in Oak Manor, the male dormitory that I oversee at The Master’s College.  He had come to ask if he could write a $100 check for our upcoming adoption travels.  He did it quietly and quickly and he left without any flash and bang.  You’ll never know who he is, and that’s how it should be.  His reward is in heaven.

Here are a few things he said in the short time that we sat and talked.  I think they’re worth repeating and reflecting on because of their humble simplicity.

  1. He said he had been working a bit more than normal and had some extra money.  There are things he wants to buy, he said, but he knows that they’re wants and not needs.  He said he doesn’t want to store up his treasures here but there (as he pointed upward).  He wrote his check quietly, and when I thanked him and told him that he was being very kind, he sidestepped my compliments and said that he wanted to give like Jesus told us to give — without making a big deal out of it.  That’s hard for him, he admitted, but he wanted to do his best.
     
  2. When he first asked me if he could give us money, I thanked him and told him that it would definitely help but that we’re currently in a position where we can pay for what we need to pay for on this particular trip.  Of course, we’re trying to be thrifty especially as we save for other possible adoptions and future education and other things, and the trip will probably end up costing more than we can predict, but I told him that there are certainly other people and causes that need the money more than us.  He said he knew that he could give the money to his church or to other people, but that he was happy to give it to us.  If we end up having extra for our trip, he figured we could just give the money to the orphanage or to a missionary or to a Ugandan.  He just wanted us to have it and use it.  I think it’s beautiful when someone wants to give to the Lord and they’re not as interested in who it ends up with as they are in just giving.  I believe the Lord smiles at that.
     
  3. He said that one of the things his pastor has been teaching on is partiality.  It’s so easy to look at people differently just based on externals.  He said that he views a poor man and a rich man differently, and that he doesn’t want to do that anymore.  I was struck by his self-recognition and honest admission and desire to repent of something that I don’t think about often enough.  I think the connection he was silently drawing between partiality and giving is that we give less when we’re partial.  I was struck by the fact that he seemed to be giving financially because of things he had read in the Word and heard from his pastor.  I hear a lot of things from the Word through pastors and teachers, and I do little about it.
     
  4. Before he left he said he wanted to pray for us and the adoption.  One of things he prayed was that the Lord would teach all of us to be open-minded in our love for people and narrow-minded when it comes to the truth.  I’ve never heard someone put it that way, but I think it’s profound.

If it’s somewhat true that a man is only as rich as his friendships, I realized today that I’m a bit more wealthy than I thought I was.


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