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You’d be Surprised by How Different Generosity Looks

By all accounts, Mabel is not wealthy.

I met her some years ago.  Her stature is small, and her speech is slow if not brusque.  I’m quite sure that she’ll never build a big organization.  Her skills to manage people are limited.  As a fundraiser, she defies the rules.  She doesn’t have a great website, full-color brochures, a catchy tag-line, or even a way to give online.

Pretty unimpressive, I know.  But something happened a long time ago.  She went on a mission trip to a distant part of the world—a place where few would think to go.  She wanted to see, really see, the hurting.

And I guess, when you want to see, really see, then you do.  She saw the hurting—little children who needed care, orphans in need of a hug, and some just a safe place—a respite of hope.

Like a branding iron on her heart, the hurting children left their permanent marker on her soul.  I suspect that she would’ve carried them all on her back all the way home.  That branding was manifested with an iron look in her eye, a quiet determination to make a difference.

That’s what she does—make a difference.  Each and every year, the same mission, the same roll up your sleeves attitude, the same determination to perhaps save some, save one.  The metrics—the ROI—will never be very good.

But I guess it doesn’t really matter.  A long time ago, a man lived just into his early 30s.  He started and ended his personal ministry in just 3 years.  He built no buildings, staged no major crusades, paid off no debt, and his appearance was nothing to behold.  I wonder if I would’ve looked at his ministry and asked, “Where’s your ROI?”

I wonder, how many Mabels do you know?

About Bill High

Bill is CEO of the National Christian Foundation Heartland. He works with families, individual givers, and financial advisers to share the foundation’s message regarding biblical generosity and charitable giving. He is the co-author with David Green of Giving It All Away and Getting It All Back Again: The Way of Living Generously: www.givingitallawaybook.com. » Learn More

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