|95-year-old “MOM”, a role model for giving…….|
So what exactly are you giving? I know, it’s a big question. Or, is it a little question? It’s all relative, right? So let me ask the question again. What are you giving? I can’t help but think of this question as I think about a very special woman who has stepped forward to help out with Walk by Faith Ministry’s SWEET DREAMS PROJECT: helping the homeless dream & sleep. Some might say 95 years old is too late to start volunteering, but my friend Gladys who is affectionately called “Mom” doesn’t think so.
In fact, she couldn’t be happier about her volunteer work organizing, bagging, and praying over the toiletries being donated for the SWEET DREAMS PROJECT. The project comprises preaching/teaching the Word of God to help the homeless and others to live the dreams the Lord has for their lives, combined with providing sleeping bags, Bibles, and toiletries. What’s sleeping without dreaming, and what’s dreaming without dreaming and living the dreams the Lord has for our lives, right? And what’s more beautiful when it comes to a 95 year old woman who can easily get down given the limitations of her age than to experience the joy of loving the Lord and her neighbor as herself by giving to others?
But as beautiful as it is to think of a 95-year-old woman beginning her new volunteer work putting together zip-lock bags of toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, deodorant, etc., this really isn’t the point. The point is, what are you giving?
I can honestly say I find nothing in life more satisfying than my relationship with the Lord and loving and serving Him by preaching/teaching the Gospel and ministering His love to a world in need. But even as I go out into the world to do what He has called me to do, my heart is heavy when I think of all the people who don’t know Him, aren’t following Him, and simply aren’t taking the time, the care, and most importantly the love, to give.
I am quite sure Gladys could come up with a good number of excuses not to do her volunteer work she has committed to do. Too old. Too tired. Too many aches and pains. Not interesting work. Not enough fun. Oh, she could come up with a host of reasons to lay aside her labor of the Lord’s love. Instead, she is grateful, and blessed, and diligent in taking the first steps in this next chapter of her life.
Excuses? We all have them, right? Too busy. Too tired. Don’t have anything to give. Better things to do. Life’s too hard. Blah, blah, blah. Honestly, we could all come up with plenty of reasons to keep the focus on ourselves and forget about a world in need. Maybe even we don’t feel qualified to give. But Jesus honored the woman in the Bible who gave only two mites – a value that was entirely insignificant in the eyes of the world. Yet He recognized her because she gave out of her need rather than out of her wealth and riches.
I have had the good pleasure of sharing a few meals with Gladys and her daughter Phyllis, who is a dear friend of mine also. I couldn’t help one time but watch her pray silently before her meal. She wouldn’t stop praying. Her praying went on and on. It turns out she was praying for people she didn’t even know, for people around the world who are hungry, who are suffering, who are in desperate need.
When I met Gladys and Phyllis to pick up the first bags full of toiletries they had organized and Gladys had bagged, Gladys made a point of telling me how blessed she is – how the Lord has blessed her with plenty. But see Gladys doesn’t stop with thanksgiving for what she has from the Lord. She goes from thanksgiving to giving. She takes her thanks and turns it into giving.
I do not believe that giving has anything to do with how much or how little we have to give. I believe it has to do with our desire, and our commitment, to give what the Lord places in our hearts and hands and lives to give to a world in need. But the choice is ours. He cannot make us give. But He sure can train, equip, and provide for those of us who choose to do so.
I encourage you to stop right now in your tracks and go before the Lord. Ask Him if you are giving what He has asked you to give, if you are doing what He has asked you to do. Ask Him to forgive you for the times you have fallen short in giving. Ask Him for the love, strength, courage, training, preparation, provisions, whatever at all you need, to give. And then make the commitment to give. And follow through.
“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”