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dropping the baton?

By Anonymous | 3 May 2013 | Comments (1)

Dropping the Baton


This blog is part 3 in The Art of Giving email series. Want to sign up to receive all ten emails for free? Enter your email address here.


I recently attended the funerals of two amazing people; both of whom left gaping holes when they exited this world before 65.  Listening to their families and friends telling stories of how much both had packed into their years, and the inspiring ways they’d lived to serve God and others, I found myself feeling gutted that I hadn’t known them better.  I remember sitting and listening at one of the funerals and thinking “if I’d known this about this person earlier, I would have asked them to mentor me – they are so inspiring.”

On a similar note, I know for a fact that there are amazing acts of generosity going down regularly in my church family, and yet I don’t often get to hear of them and be blessed / inspired / challenged in my own life by other people’s example.

Matthew 6:1-3 says:

Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honoured by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 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. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

I understand that this passage has often been the reason for people not sharing their inspiring stories, and I totally respect that there are different interpretations and teachings on passages…  Personally, I believe you can read this passage two ways.  There’s the way that focusses on the instructions: ‘be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others…’ and ‘So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets…’  And then there’s a way that focusses on the motivation: ‘…to be seen by them’ and ‘to be honoured by others.’  I wonder whether it’s possible to share stories and experiences, without the details of the nitty gritty, in order to inspire others – to pass the baton to the next generation?

Take, for example, the couple who mentored my husband and me.  I don’t actually remember them telling me any specific stories about gifts they’d given – even though they live a generous lifestyle  - but they told us about amazing ways God had provided for them through anonymous donations and they taught us some excellent principles on how to hear God and trust Him in the area of finances.

I believe there are two ways to learn radical generosity.  One is to be on the receiving end of mind-blowing generosity until what you’ve seen modelled becomes your blueprint for life.  The other is to hear the type of story or experience that gives you goosebumps; fills you with joy; makes you start to wonder if there’s something bigger out there than your current experience… until you’re hungry to see that kind of transformation in your own story.

So, as a plea from a generation that is really hungry for inspiration: I totally respect your privacy and understand that there might be some things that you struggle to share because your motives aren’t quite where you’d like them to be yet but that inspires me too!  I don’t want to know amounts, or specifics, but I would love to sit at your feet and hear a few of your best stories, or ones you’ve heard from others.  I want to hear about what excites you and where you’ve lived in the fullness of life.  Please don’t keep it all bottled up until I hear it all at your funeral – I need your inspiration now.

Challenge:

Has God given you wisdom in a particular area, which you could be sharing to inspire others?  Or are there people you admire whose stories you’d like to hear?  Why not meet up with them and ask some of your inquisitive questions?  If you click, why not ask them to mentor you for a longer period?

comments:

Simon

May 8, 2013 8:40 PM
Great article, thanks!!

From my experience I have found that when people share in the right spirit it is an amazing motivation to me. It is partly about being a good listener too; if I am listening and full of praise for the person then they are less likely to share, if they think that all there get from me is praise. That is not what they want, and in fact it is the opposite.

I have some great Christian friends who have shared some simple things that they do ,not to show off how great they are, but to encourage me to grow. Simple example: a friend said that each time she hears an emergency vehicle she prays, as someone is obviously in need. Now, there's is two ways I can take that. I can think wow isn't my friend fantastic , there probably aren't too many people as good as that. It I can think, wow that's simple and clever, and I too could serve in that way.
Its all about the motivation of the speaker, and the hearer.

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