With Thanksgiving being on many people’s mind, especially turkeys (the feathered kind, not referring to dinner guests), I recall a teacher’s message about generosity.
He said he wanted to give so much, so frequently, to so many people that he wouldn’t remember all the gifts he gave. That’s the kind of forgetfulness I’d accept! I find humble generosity appealing and am inspired by bountiful spirit with which some donors give, often anonymously.
I’ve been in roles that grant me access to work with behind-the-scenes workers and benefactors who request not to be publicly named. I’ve seen some of the most generous contributors be extremely adamant about remaining incognito about their gifts of time and resources. Like Jesus, who gave everything while He was on earth, some servants positively contribute much and seek nothing.
Jesus teaches in Mathew, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Mt. 6:1-3 ESV).
I believe, on varying levels, that we all have some longing to be recognized or acknowledged by others. There are days when I proclaim, “Lord, use me completely for Your service!” God sometimes answers my bugle call by offering a humbling assignment. It’s my free will to accept or deny His request, but if I bristle after He invites me to an unappealing task (unpleasant, according to me), what is my authentic motivation for completing His mission? Instead of being grateful for God answering my herald to be unconditionally available for His purposes, I’m challenged to reconsider that perhaps my original intent was to toot my own horn.
Creator of abundant harvest, cultivate me into a year-round bounty of forgetful generosity. Guard me against self-seeking goals that devour pure intentions for serving. Help me understand that even if the world dismisses or notices my deeds, I am known by You. You see every detail of my day. Grow me to trust Your faithfulness even when I don’t see fruit of my labor in this lifetime.
Diving into the lily pad of life with countless thanks for Your faithfulness, Christina