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Why Give Even When You Are Down

I had a cup of coffee with a friend of mine the other day. It had been awhile since I’d seen him. I knew from our  email trail that the days preceding had been hard. Business challenges. But little did I realize how severe…

He was ready to take his life so that way his family could have the life insurance money. A real estate development had gone sour and left him holding the bag with mounds of debt. Their large house was emptying rapidly with the effects of Craiglist sales. Even his kids had gotten into the act by selling Ipods, TVs, video games—anything that would bring a buck.

But in the midst of their trial, they looked up and saw their neighbor. When they saw him at the mailbox, his shoulders were slumped, and the car didn’t slip out the garage anymore to head off to work. He was evasive, but they managed to catch him in the yard one day, and he confessed:  they were down to eating peanut butter and jelly. His neighbor was planning to take his own life in his despair.

So what did my friend do? He and his wife wept—not for themselves but for someone else. And as they did, they sensed God asking them, in their own trial, to make a gift to their neighbor. When they presented the gift to their neighbor, he protested—“You can’t give this to me!  You need it yourselves.” But they told him firmly, “Don’t deny us the blessing of giving.”

And so they gave. The chapter of their neighbor’s life is still unfolding. Disaster averted. For them, they walked away, not with their own problems solved, but with a renewed sense of the generosity of God.

About Bill High

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

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