Sunday, July 24, 2016

Generational Generosity

July 24, 2016

Linda's parents never had much of this world's goods. Although they never thought of themselves as poor, they were. But they were also generous. They faithfully tithed their modest income, and trusted that God would provide, which he did. More than once when we were just starting out, they would slip gas money into my hand after we had made the two-hour trip to visit them, and they always made sure each grandchild and later, each great-grandchild received a Christmas gift from them.

For as long as I can remember, Ginner would send birthday and anniversary cards to Linda. For the ten to fifteen years before her death on New Year's Eve 2013, each of those cards would contain a five dollar bill. A small gift in dollar amount, but generous when one considers that she did this with all her daughters out of the limited resources she had. Linda never could bring herself to spend those five dollar bills, so they lay in a drawer in her desk, accumulating ... waiting. For the past couple years after her mother's death, every so often Linda would pull open that drawer and slowly thumb through the bills. She would get quiet, and I knew where her mind was going. A tear would well in the corner of her eye as she slowly placed the bills back in the envelope, slid in the drawer, and walked away.

Tonight, she gave me a card for Lidia, wife of pastor Dan in Cuba. In it were all those bills she had saved for all those years. "I couldn't figure out what to do with them," she explained. There was nothing she wanted enough to let go of one of the last tangible connections with her mother. This morning in prayer, she felt the Lord tugging at her heart, telling her to give them to Lidia. Words cannot express how proud I am of her. She learned her lessons well, and I am humbled by her generosity. It's more than the money; she is giving her heart, a little bit of which shall now forever be in Cuba.

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