Connecting extraordinary gospel truth to everyday ordinary life
Learning Generosity…. From Those Who Have Almost Nothing
Tim was so kind to “invite” me into his blog. This trip is possibly convincing me that I should get on Facebook :)
Tim has provided some wonderful glimpses of what this trip to India is like. It is my 5th time here, but the poverty never gets easier to take in. It’s everywhere; it’s
overwhelming; it is always in your line of sight; it’s appetite is insatiable. Yet in the midst of all of the grime, trash, disease, and people who seem swallowed up in a sea of hopelessness are smiles, joy, and generosity.
My daughter Elle and I are here with Mike Nash, a pastor from Metro Life Church, and TimandTimMerwin, father and son! We met
R and S, along with their daughter G. (We are not using their names in an effort to protect them for any further persecution.) I actually met R a few years ago, but he was not yet married. R is a pastor. The church he pastors is on the edge of a slum. It’s the poorest of the poor. R and S live mission in ways I can’t even comprehend. It’s one thing to read
books on mission, write mission statements. Actually being on mission, well, R and S are the billboard for mission for Jesus! While visiting with them this week they served us a cold Sprite. Elle offered to collect the glasses. S was so appreciative. She commended Elle for her servant heart. Such a small gesture of kindness blessed her, and so in return, she knit Elle and my daughter Anna an Indian blouse! She did it that day! To put this in perspective, R and S live on about $110 US per month, plus whatever income they can generate from a small field. And they bought the fabric to knit blouses for two of my girls, and wouldn’t take any money!
Another display of generosity has come at our hotel. We are staying in a very comfortable, western hotel, but that doesn’t mean the employees are making western wages. Far from it! Arnav is a young waiter at our hotel. He works 12 hours per day, 6 days per week. He works 7-12 in the morning, and then again from 5-12 in the evening. He gets a few hours sleep between shifts. It becomes apparent that many guests in the hotel don’t take the time to interact with the workers; they just tell them what they want. But we’ve been making a point of getting to know Arnav as best we can in our breakfast and dinner times at the hotel. He speaks English fluently. It seems our small gesture of getting to know him has endeared him to us, and it isn’t because he’s seeking a big tip. Tipping in India is nothing like the States. On Thursday evening Elle and I went by the restaurant to say hi and get a cup of coffee and a hot chocolate to go. That’s about 180 rupies, or about $3. When I went to pay for it Arnav insisted that he buy it for us. Now some perspective here; Arnav might earn about 500-600 rupies per day. In other words, he needs the 180 rupies. But it was clear that he felt privileged and full of joy at the prospect of doing this for us. How could I let him? Well, I did let him, because he was pretty persistent, but I will get him back before we leave!
There are so many things to share about the ministry we are here serving. The men we are teaching, the possibilities in partnership, a missions trip with your daughter. But I just wanted to share these stories about generosity from those who have next to nothing to give as an inspiration to us all. Why can generosity be so hard for us who have so much? Jesus spared nothing and held nothing back for us. R and S, along with Arnav, have shown me what the generosity of Jesus looks like in the most tangible of ways. I only hope that in some way I can emulate it, and grow in doing so more and more in the days to come.
Lord Jesus, shower your mercies upon R, S and G. Protect them from harm and from the evil one. They don’t ask you for riches; they ask for courage and strength. Grant these things and add provision to these things, Lord. As I seek the opportunity to share your love with Arnav tonight at dinner, open the door of his heart if he does not already know you. Grant me the grace and boldness to proclaim you to Arnav. In Your Name, Amen