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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Friday, September 11, 2009

Generosity

She stands in the middle of her tiny, two-room house that appeared to have been built with scraps of old plywood and material scavenged from who knows where. The floor, where there is a floor, is bare cement, and the walls have never known a coat of paint or plaster. The signs of poverty are everywhere including in her face. Across two languages, I do not learn her name, and only a fragment of her story.

Yet in the midst of the sorrow and difficulty of her life there is peace. She knows she is blessed! You can see it shining from her face when she smiles; a grace that is every bit as evident as the one tooth that still remains to her.

“I did not go to church,” she says, “until my son was in a terrible accident. My son died, but I found God.”

Something in my soul responds to her. There is recognition: God lives within! In this tiny woman, in a small house, on a dirt street, at the side of a steep and rocky hill, in an arid and remote part of my former mission center, God lives within! God lives within as surely as GOD IS, and out of that surety she gives away what she has. It pours out of her in her testimony and radiates from her face; it is God’s own love. I see no evidence of want or envy. If she feels the lack of material blessings, it does not show, and I suspect it does not matter because she knows she is loved by God, and it is enough. In fact, it is more than enough. God’s love fills her soul, and in this moment, confronted by strangers, it overflows from her life into our ears and our hearts. She is a disciple of Jesus, and this is her generous response.

Would that I were so generous! Would that I would risk giving away all that I have, or at least that which I hold dear! Jesus said that where our treasure is, there will our hearts be also, and this woman’s heart is with God. She gives out of the overflowing abundance of God’s grace, which knows no limits. I, on the other hand, often give out of the poverty of spirit that frequently inhabits the souls of the materially comfortable. I harbor within me the secret fear that if I give away what I have, there may not be enough left for me. This parsimony is a reflection of spiritual poverty; a lack of trust in God’s grace and sufficiency. In the contrast between this woman’s heart and mine, I reflect again on the words of D. & C. 163.

Jesus Christ, the embodiment of God’s shalom, invites all people to come and receive divine peace in the midst of the difficult questions and struggles of life. (163:2a)

“In the midst of”, not “instead of.” This woman still grieves for her son, and she is still poor, but she has received divine peace, and shares that with all who will accept it. And that is Grace!

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