We were visiting homes in Haiti to pray, distribute Bibles, and give away bags of personal care products. Our mission team with Active Christians Today had been serving at a children’s home over the past week and we looked forward to going out into the community.
More than handing out toothpaste, our goal was to foster relationships between the local community and the church.
We traveled rocky, dirt paths into small one room shacks that were filled with people grateful to see us.
One dwelling was the home of a woman whose husband moved to the Americas to find work. He had been sending money home faithfully for the last 7 years.
As our mission team walked to the next house, the Haitian Pastor traveling with us discussed local traditions and culture. As I listened, I began to feel foolish about my American bubble, while simultaneously blessed to be standing next to a man who was reaching out in faith to those around him.
The Most Rundown Shack
Then I saw it. A shack that was more worn down than the others. There was more crumbling in the cement, less fabric and more leaves.
The owner was a woman whose deep brown eyes penetrated my heart, as if they were yearning to be heard. I could almost hear her ask, “Why am I in this place and you in yours?”
As the Pastor began speaking with her in their native tongue, she perched herself upon a leaf-woven chair outside the home and peeled wilted lettuce. She wore filthy garments, and her feet were bare and calloused.
There seemed to be kids everywhere. After they exchanged a few words, the woman dodged the 11 children running around and went inside her home to retrieve a very small amount of Haitian money.
Upon her return, I saw tears welling up in the pastor’s eyes. Then he pulled money from his shirt pocket and handed it to the woman along with her own few coins.
After the team prayed with this woman, we walked away in silence. Our Creole was limited, but we were able to discern that God had just done something powerful.
The pastor explained that of the 11 children running around, only three were her own. The rest were the children of relatives who had passed away. The woman and her 11 children all lived in that one roomed, crumbling cement shack. The wilted head of lettuce that she was peeling was for dinner. That was it. One wilted head of lettuce.
I could tell she was thinner than her children, no doubt the result of many missed meals. I wondered how many times she sacrificially went without food so that those kids could eat something. Would I ever be able to make the same sacrifice?
The pastor went on to explain that the money she offered up was her tithe. She wanted to give it ALL to Jesus, and it was all she had left. I had just witnessed the widow’s offering as Jesus talks about in Mark 12:41-44.
Instead of taking her money, the pastor gave of his own to help her. He told her it was for the purpose of caring for the kids.
As for me, I gave a little bit of time and some hygiene kits, while she gave everything. If only I could have a heart like this woman to care for the orphaned and put my faith in God for my provision.
Where is your heart today? Do you trust that God will provide? Have you seen God provide in generous ways?
See you in the Round,
Maybe you saw the title for this post and thought that I was going to tell you about how much of the world lives on less than a dollar a day and how if you own a car or have a college education, you are one of the wealthiest people in the world.
Not Just Numbers
That isn’t what I want to discuss, even though I do think we should have a realistic perspective on our financial status compared to the rest of the world. I am not going to show you figures and statistics. However, I do want to challenge all of us to be generous with what we have by considering how much we have been given.
A few weeks ago, my pastor Matt Carter reminded us that as Christians, we are the most served people in the history of the world. Because of that, we ought to be the most generous people in the history of the world (catch the sermon here). In Romans 12:1-2, Paul urges us to offer ourselves as sacrifices “in view of God’s mercy.” Our motivation to sacrifice is the mercy of God. We first consider what God has done for us and given to us, and that shapes how we live and how we give.
As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.
I do not know exactly what all this future treasure is, but I can say with certainty that it is good, and we do get a taste of it here and now. We carry the treasure of Christ’s death and life in our bodies (2 Corinthians 4:7-12), and we are heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ (Romans 8:16-17). The Holy Spirit has been richly poured out on us (Titus 3:5-6). We have been given the Word of God, which is more to be desired than much fine gold (Psalm 19:10).
Friends, we are RICH.
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.
(2 Corinthians 8:9)
Could we be any more blessed? I bet the Haitian woman that Kim met understood this truth. My prayer is that it would sink deep into our hearts as well, causing us to also give sacrificially to bless others.
See y’all in the Round,
“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."