For several years, I participated in and led mission trips to Honduras. Our primary purpose during these week-long trips was to be present & active in three specific communities:
- A government-run facility housing at-risk teen-age girls,
- A government-run orphanage for children up to age 12, and
- An under-privileged community where we typically hosted between 100 & 180 children.
Knowing that I was going to embark on a blog series called Do the Work, I purposely wrote a single blog post titled Rest at Work (posted November 30, 2022). I would encourage you to refer to that post over and over because my hope is that this series will a) inspire you to engage with work in various aspects of your life more intentionally, but b) not cause you to become weary.
Today I want to talk about the work of generosity. You already know that you are blessed, so I am not going to quote the statistics about how you are among the x% richest people in history. Why? Because when I use the word generosity, I’m not talking about money exclusively. You are blessed with all kinds of resources – time (both in terms of 24 hours a day and paid time off work), technology, square footage of living space, a house for your cars, knowledge, specific skills, and a multitude of personality traits just to name a few. I call upon you today to do the work of generosity. Share the abundance of your blessings, and please do not take this opportunity to take an inventory of what you don’t have. Where you have need, I am calling on the community to meet it, but you also have something to offer.
As I would prepare a team for a trip to Honduras, the single most important concept to get across was that the teen-age girls and children we worked with, despite the long list of their disadvantages, had only one real need; and that was to be truly seen & known. They just want to be known. On my very first trip, in the community with well over 100 kids buzzing in chaos around us each day, I found myself attracting a “posse” of several kids. As the week went on, I began to write in my journal their names and anything I could find out about them. When I got off the bus six months later, on Day 1 of the next trip, I intentionally looked each of a dozen kids in the eyes and called them by name. Their eyes told me how much that meant to them.
So, do more than just write checks. Write checks, yes, but don’t let it end there. See your blessing and share your blessing, all the while looking at the people in your path.
Share your bread with the hungry. Donate to a food pantry, yes, but also take a homeless person to a restaurant and hear their story.
Bring the poor into your house. Donate to a shelter, yes, but also let them fill the space you never use.
Keep an eye out for the injustice that happens around you every day. Plead the case of the oppressed. Understand their situation, help them, and share your knowledge & skills with them.
They just want to be known. Maybe that is what you want, honestly, and you will be, if only you take the first step.