A few years ago, I went to pick up a kiddo from his classroom for his in-school counseling session. He shot up from his seat the moment I arrived (I tend to have that affect since I take them from class) and dashed back to his backpack, rummaging around until he produced a gaudy mesh-y green bracelet filled with fake gems and crystals. Beaming with pride he stated “Ms. Lindsay, I went to the student store last week and I got this for you!” Bewildered, I said “Oh buddy, that’s ok, you should save that for your mom or grandma or sister, you probably got it for them, for Christmas, right?” “No! Ms. Lindsay, I picked it especially for you, it is yours, I’ve been waiting all week to give it to you.” I thanked him and put it on hoping that I wouldn’t be expected to wear it again. We went on to our session and I went about my day. Later, on my way home I was struck with some conviction and the gratitude that I was missing earlier in the day. When I received this gift, I was embarrassed, maybe even ashamed. I focused on the appearance of this bracelet, and what others would think of me if they saw it. In that moment, I missed the most important piece. As we approach a season of the year set aside for gratitude, generosity, and hope I want to share the things that I missed so that you, in this most difficult of years, can avoid my folly.
My focus was on the fault of the thing. To the world, that thing looked hideous. To someone who thought of me, it was a precious commodity.
Someone with nothing set aside their wants and used everything they had to get me a gift.
I wrote this kid off. I assumed he got this gift, it was burning a hole in his backpack, and that he just needed to get rid of it. His intentionality was written off as a fault in my mind.
Does any of this sound familiar to you? My pharisaical attitude is condemned in scripture. Remember the woman who threw in two tiny coins to the offering in Mark 12:41-44? In the midst of a showy display of ‘who can give what’ she humbly and faithfully places her coins in the offering. According to scripture this was everything she had. Her gift symbolized the trustworthy giving of her whole life to Christ, no matter what the outcome. Rather than seeing my humble gift for what it truly was, an act of generosity and thoughtfulness, I immediately went to a place of ‘how to get out of this/how to avoid this situation.’ My character that morning was not something to be proud of—and the character of that young man absolutely was something to celebrate. Our counseling goals for his year were to be a friend to those who needed a friend and to notice people—here he was practicing this and I ignored it.
After my convicting drive home, I wore that bracelet every single week to visit with him. I wrote him a thank you note, and I celebrated his thoughtfulness the next week. We don’t always get the chance to adjust after our mistakes and I am grateful that I was afforded that opportunity. While my little friend is long gone, the bracelet remains a constant reminder to me to question:
Where am I finding my worth?
What have I been ungrateful for lately?
How can I give generously out of what I do not have, rather than giving only in my abundance?
At times, this year has seemed altogether bleak. I encourage you not to rush through your interactions and miss moments of gratitude. When we focus on the faults of others and are not moving forward, we can find fault in anything. This attitude of gratitude is important to model for our children but it is also important for ourselves. When we think outside of ourselves, we become healthier—our gratitude is directly linked to our happiness. When you think of what and how you are giving your time and resources this year—are you giving your all? Or are you giving something for show? Do a heart check, pride of giving is a very real sin.
We want to give a heartfelt thank you to all of our donors who continue to support us through their generous giving. We are grateful to you for making it possible for others to find hope and healing.
Thank you, Michael Hirons, for your very generous annual gift and the matching gift we received from EPR Properties on your behalf.
A special thanks to Post Press for their gift towards our silent auction.
James & Erika Grimmer, we thank you for your continued partnership and generosity through your annual gift.
Rusty & Rene Fracassa, we are continually grateful for your support.
A special Thank You to our faithful monthly supporters: Vox Dei Community, Brandon & Vanessa Blanchard, Jenny Glasgow, Craig & Samantha Compton, Roger & Jennifer Madsen, John & Vicki Hefner, Tamara Stroud, Church at Coffee Creek, John & Keshia Otradovec, Zane & Melissa Morerod, Matt & Kristy Newton, Jondy & Heather Britton, Rick & Jan Britton, Jeff & Lacey Cherry, Nancy & Tim Shea, Diane Smith, Rick & Kathy Daulton, Scott & Lydia Hurley, Kevin Quinn, Dan & Gigi Rippee, Mike & Tracy Pruitt, Lee & Debbie Miller, Linda Hartman, Lone Jack Baptist Church, Perception Funding, Brent & Amanda Miller, Stan & Linda Byrd, Clayton & Pam Wooldridge, Greg & Karen Miller, Don & Linda Pearce, Demi Raveill, Stan & Deb Oglesby, and Greg & Jennifer Spears.
We appreciate you!
Contact our Director of Development, Athena Brattin at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 816.272.0653 to find out how you can join our team of Partners. To make a donation through our website, please click on the link below.
SAVE THE DATE for a global day of generosity on December 1, 2020.
We all have gifts to give, and with social media, online giving, delivery, mail, and phones, there are limitless ways to use your generosity to support others. Generosity has the ability to bring people of all races, faiths, and political views together across the globe. Generosity gives everyone the power to make a positive change in the lives of others and is a fundamental value anyone can act on.