Last week, I told you I had been meditating on this verse:
“Give to the one who asks you,
and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”
I was struck then by the simplicity of what is asked of us, and I found a lot of peace in knowing I was called to care for the one in front of me rather than to solve all the problems of the world. But I also wanted the Spirit to show me specifically how I should be living this out. Who is the one in front of me today? I thought of various people who ask me for money. I try to keep small bills in my wallet in case I pass a homeless person while driving in my car. I’m not as consistent about it as I’d like to be, and I asked if this was something I needed to change. But I didn’t feel moved by the Spirit. The card reader at the grocery store always has a prompt inviting me to make a small donation to a charity, which I normally don’t do. I asked God if this was something I should change, but again, I didn’t feel moved by the Spirit. I might still consider doing these things. But it wasn’t something I felt the Spirit speaking to me about last week. In the midst of the peace God was giving me, I also had an unsettled feeling all week like I was missing something God wanted me to do to grow in generosity. On Wednesday, I found out what it was.
Three women come to clean our house every other week. They have charged us the same amount for many years with no change. But this week, they asked me if we would consider paying them another ten to twenty dollars per person each visit. This time, I felt the conviction of the Spirit. Twenty dollars more each visit for each of the three women would be an increase of one hundred and twenty dollars for house cleaning each month, which felt like a much bigger sacrifice than some small change at the grocery store or a few dollars on a street corner a couple times a week. But these are the people God has placed me in relationship with, and they didn’t ask me for ten or twenty more because ten more is enough. A larger company would just change its rates without feeling the need to ask permission. But these humble women felt the need to ask, and I knew I didn’t dare to say no. The reality is that I do have one hundred and twenty dollars I can do without each month, regardless of how much I might rather spend it on something else. I don’t want to take any chances that people who work at my house might not receive adequate pay. And I’m grateful that the Spirit showed me the small, simple thing I am to do in order to be faithful this week.
Lord Jesus, thank you for all the ways you care for us and provide for us. Teach us to be generous as you are generous, not to live in fear of having too little for ourselves, but to live in the joy of being given opportunities to bless others. Show us each day how to simply give as we are asked and how to be good to those you have placed in our lives for us to love. Amen.
Love in Christ,