The Real Gift of Sacrificial Giving

Last month, the children of our church and preschool worked together to raise money for Heifer International.  In a combined effort, our children raised almost $1,400.  We were able to purchase a heifer, 2 llamas, 2 goats, 2 pigs, chickens, and even rabbits!  It was very touching to hear the stories of our children as they emptied their box of coins into the large jars.  Some of the children had completed chores, some emptied their entire piggy banks, and some asked relatives to join in the cause!  Altogether, hundreds of children participated and will touch the lives of many around the world!  Not only did they raise money for Heifer International in a big way, but they also blessed the lives of those around them by learning how to help in even small ways.

As a birthday gift, my friends got together and packed a huge pile of Blessing Bags.  Each bag was filled with toothpaste, applesauce, deodorant, toothbrush, breakfast bars, etc.  I keep them in my car and pass them out to anyone I see in need on street corners.  I was very touched that my friends gave me so many filled bags for my birthday, as they know how important that is to me.   I want to share a story with you that touched me as I passed out a Blessing Bag this week.  I rolled down my window and handed the man the bag.  He asked me to wait, and he removed the toothpaste tube.  He handed it back to me.  He told me he already had a tube and asked me to please give it to someone who needed it more.   I took the tube back, and realized that he gave me more than the tube.  He taught me about love.

In Mark 12:41-44, we hear the story of the poor widow who gave a very generous gift.  Jesus watches at the temple as many rich people threw in large amounts into the treasury.  And then this poor widow comes and puts in two very small coins.  And at that sight, Jesus tells his disciples that the widow put more into the treasury than all the others because she gave out of her poverty and put in everything she had to live on.  We are also called to give generously, just like that poor widow, just like our Sunday School and Preschool kids who literally have nothing, yet earned money so that they could give, and just like the homeless man who gave back the toothpaste.

I have been blessed through the acts of children and their families in the last week.  The generous giving that they have displayed has been an inspiration.   I pray that we all can learn to live life generously, seeing needs around us and giving all that we can with a gracious and loving spirit.

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