How Foolish It Is to Give
Sacrificial generosity looks countercultural. After all, moving down in the world in order to have more to give away—that’s when people start thinking (and perhaps saying) it’s foolish to give up so much.
They are young, 20-somethings, married, but bitten by a bug. Not the typical bug mind you. They headed off to Malawi a few years back, and they met the children there.
These weren’t just any children. The ones that made such an impression were poor, utterly poor. They were skinny with protruding bellies. They could stand a little protein and a few good meals. But what was most remarkable in their poverty was the smiles. These were the smiles of joy, gratitude, and even mischief. What love flowed! It was as if they did not know their own poverty.
So Josh and Kristen were changed. They came back and sold their nice big house. They bought a smaller place. But, curses(!), they went back to Malawi again, and they saw those same smiles. When they came back, they sold again for a still smaller place. I think this went on a couple more times until they were living in half a duplex.
I suspect their neighbors thought them crazy. Perhaps their family did as well—after all, how foolish it is to give! Why should I give up the home I’ve already chosen and invested in? Why should I reduce my standard of living? But then, how much do I really need?
I’ve never been to Malawi, but still I can’t escape the images of those children with the flashing smiles and the skinny arms draped around American shoulders. And I find myself asking, Why is it so foolish to give—and yet why is it so foolish to hold on? What do you think?
Photo by Seth Doyle on Unsplash
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Published February 2, 2011
Topics: A Life of Faith