Generously Sow

https://pattyschell.com/2017/09/30/generously-sow-2/
I fed a homeless guy last night. His name was Edward.

It isn’t unusual for me to feed someone I see that might be hungry. Maybe it’s because my mamma taught me it was impolite to eat in front of others, though I don’t really know if that applied in this situation, since Edward was sitting alone on the dirty curb, and I would eat my meal at a nice clean table surrounded by a large group of people who were laughing and chatting with each other. It doesn’t really matter, but I think the reason I fed him was because God placed him in my path to feed and so I did.

A passage found at the end of Deuteronomy 24 talks about making provision for the foreigner, fatherless, and the widow from the excess we find in our own “fields”. It is just one passage out of nearly 100 found in the Bible that address our responsibility toward caring for the poor. One thing I would also like to point out, it doesn’t say those who are rich be generous. It makes a statement to us all no matter where we find ourselves economically. If you have a “field” big or small God’s talking to you.

I have found that the most generous people are actually the ones who can afford it least. I’ve seen those who had very little of their own divide and share what they had with someone else in need. A few years ago, I worked with a small church in one of the poorest areas near my home. We ran a midweek children’s service with singing, games, and stories. At the end of the evening, we fed the children supper along with some home baked cookies. Every single time they would ask if there was enough to take home. Some refused to eat what we offered so they could carry it to a mom or dad, grandparent or sibling who was not in attendance. I can just see them running into their houses making their little offering to whoever was there, becoming givers themselves.

Giving is a simple matter really,

but it’s no small thing. Even though each of us may only have the capacity to make a momentary difference in the life of one, man, woman or child—it is still worth the effort. It adds up. Most of us have more to offer than we think. A hamburger, a smile, a dollar or two, a moment of your time to give recognition. God has placed what others need in our “field” so we get to be generous and practice love. It grows us up a little more into the image of His Son who gave everything.

The feeling you get when you follow through with God’s will in your life is exhilarating and makes you want to do more, give more, love more. I can’t describe it. You just have to experience it for yourself. And in case you didn’t realize, caring for the poor is God’s will for everyone–you, me, everyone. Remember he says it nearly 100 times.

After my encounter with Edward, I thought about him all the way home and prayed for his life. Would he always be homeless? Would he someday have a wife? Children? He was a very young man. Where was his family? His parents? His siblings? Would he make it through the cold night? Would he know Jesus just a little more because someone fed him a hamburger and asked him his name? Only God knew the answers. What I do know for sure, that night, Edward’s name was in God’s ears and on His mind.

. . . whoever sows generously will also reap generously.
2 Corinthians 9:6

Mission: Love Thy Neighbor

Recently I received an article from a friend. It contained some pictures of place I had been when on a trip to Syria some years ago. The images were before and after shots showing the devastation that had taken place during the conflict there. My heart broke for the people who had lived their lives in these neighborhoods.

Never have I been somewhere that has later been destroyed. My feet had walked the streets that now lay in ruins. I had once bartered with merchants whose shops are now bombed out and empty. I had eaten in these now tumbled down restaurants that were once full of people who were enjoying their evening meals. It had been a safe, peaceful and secure place when I visited.

syria picMy prayers go out to this community. It is natural to feel sad for what has happened in their land, but it was more than that for me. I drank tea with these people and listened to their stories. I was invited into their homes and shared in their family life. That is what sets traveling and mission trips apart. Traveling lets you experience the place with all its sights and sounds, but a mission is altogether different. It allows you to experience the people. And that is exactly what has happened each time I have set out to follow God into places He wants to make a difference.

I found this to be true in Syria and in every other place where He has landed my feet for His purposes. It makes the world smaller as you discover how much alike you are. When you realize how the hopes and dreams of those you come in contact with look a whole lot like your own, compassion begins to build and a connection starts to grow.  One woman I met in Tajikistan said it this way, “We may not know each other’s language, but our hearts will understand one another perfectly.” This has been my experience every time I have said “Yes” to joining God where He is working.

Many of you who are reading this have become part of a mission by either going on a trip yourself or supporting someone with finances and prayers. If you have never participated in any of these things, I encourage you to try one of them soon. Also try seeking out and listening to the stories of people who have traveled on a mission trip. The wealth they will share with you cannot be gained any other way. Compassion is learned from hearing and knowing and experiencing how others live.

Your life will be better for it when you get acquainted with people and communities outside of your own. Knowledge brings understanding. Together with compassion you have very powerful tools in making yourself better at loving your neighbor. Don’t put off this kind of love a moment longer. Join a mission.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved,

clothe yourselves with compassion—For the whole law is fulfilled in one word:

You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Colossians 3:12; Galatians 5:14


Please take a look at the full article that shows more before and after photos

of the devastation in Syria here.