I wish I could give you glowing examples from my own life of how my generosity just oozed out of me without my own consciousness of it. But then, I suppose, that would be damning evidence against me as a humble giver. But I do have a couple stories I want to tell you of some humble, anonymous givers that blessed my family during a particularly needy time in our history.
When we started Be Broken Ministries we had nothing; no money, no experience, no clue. We only had our story of God’s miracle of healing and His definite call to launch the ministry. Our faith was stretched that first year in ways we had never experienced before. One of the primary “stretching points” was our finances, or rather, lack of finances. We were hand-to-mouth seemingly every month, but we knew this was God’s calling and we felt peace about where the ministry was headed. Nonetheless, we still felt the pinch of the regularly empty bank account.
One day I was at work (a 100 square foot, windowless office space in my former employer’s building) when I got a call from my wife, Elaine. She was concerned about how we were going to have food for dinner that night. Our pantry was empty and there was only half a gallon of milk in the refrigerator. On top of that, we had less than $1 in our bank account. Yes, I said less than ONE DOLLAR! Remarkably, I didn’t feel panicky (either my faith was growing or I was mentally cracking up…). I told her we should pray, and we did. It wasn’t a flowery record-it-for-all-time prayer, but rather just a heartfelt offering of our needs before our heavenly Provider.
Later that same day, I got another phone call from Elaine. She was ecstatic! Barely able to catch her breath enough to speak, she said, “You are never going to believe what happened. Guess what came in the mail today?”
I, of course, had no idea what could have come in the mail, so I said, “Not a clue.”
“Someone anonymously sent us a $150 gift card to HEB (a local grocery store),” she squealed.
I nearly dropped the phone, along with my jaw. Tears just welled up in my eyes and we both agreed, “Thank you, Jesus.” Someone cared more about our need than their recognition of giving.
There was another instance in that first year of ministry where we were down to crumbs and had no money. We again prayed, expressing our need before God. That same night, after returning home from church, our front porch was covered with FULL grocery bags! Someone took the time to shop, bag it all up, and drive it to our home – anonymously! We just wept on our porch at the faithfulness of God. He truly does consider us more valuable than the sparrows…
The mark of these anonymous generous givers was that they gave in humility, not seeking credit in this life. They chose, instead, to “give in secret,” knowing that the God of heaven sees such true generosity and will one day offer eternal rewards. Those gifts have always provided a reference point of inspiration for my own aspirations of being a good giver. I want my giving to be measured by eternal reward, not temporal accolades.
Are you aspiring to be a true giver? If so, you are on your way to a life of no more regrets. As Jim Elliott once said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”