$1.25 is Amazing Generosity?

So I was on a bit of a road trip a little while ago, and I ran out of shaving cream.  I popped into a generic dollar store type place to see if they had some in a travel size.  As I stood in line, I noticed the woman ahead of me was having some difficulty.  She had more stuff than dollars.  And she was struggling as the cashier patiently explained that she would need more money or she would have to choose to have something put back.  And then we kind of got stuck in that moment.  And we all just kind of stood there.

Finally I asked the cashier how much was needed to make up the balance.  Informed that $1.25 was all it would take to help us all get on with our days, I indicated that I would take care of it.  So the lady got her stuff and went on with her day.  I paid for my shaving cream and turned to leave.  And the cashier said, “Thank you so much for your amazing generosity”.  And she was sincere.

I sat with that awhile.  Are we at such a place and time that $1.25 counts as amazing generosity?  I hope not.  But I think we might be.  This would be the space where the easy way to end this blog would be to point out how self-absorbed, petty and selfish our culture has become.  And I might not be wrong.  It does seem rare to witness acts of generosity or people actively putting others ahead of themselves.  It is far easier to bring to mind stories of people pushing to the front of the line, putting “me first”.

The harder thing to write is to admit that too often $1.25 is amazing generosity in my own life.  Because all too often, without even thinking I put me first.  I can guarantee you that there would be days where I would have gotten annoyed with the lady and the time it was taking and so on and so on.  And I would have kept my $1.25.

I don’t want that to be true of me.  And I don’t want that to be true of us as a movement.  I want us to be the kind of people who notice need and respond.  The kind of people who actively think about putting others first, and then do it – not just think it.  I want us to learn to be open handed with our money, time and stuff.  I want us to have open homes and available shoulders to cry on.  I want us to practice random acts of kindness but I really want us to practice ongoing, thought through, regular generosity.  Sometimes it will cost us a lot more than $1.25.  But often it won’t cost us much at all.  We need to be those kind of people.  Our world needs those kinds of people.  God calls us to be those kind of people.

So can we work on this together?  In our small groups, huddles, accountability relationships, spiritual friendships, mentoring relationships or whatever else we are a part of – can we spur each other on to love and good deeds?  Can we hold each other accountable to action, celebrate when we get it right and lovingly correct when we get it wrong?  Imagine what God could do if we made and were disciples like this.

Marc McAlister

Director of Church Health, FMCIC