• Our hope-filled future is bound up in sharing the story of Jesus, in discipling others, in bringing those disciples together into communities of believers, and in developing and releasing those believers to create other communities... till Jesus the King comes again!

Where are the resources?

cheerful giverAll of us are motivated by the generous spirit of God the Father, demonstrated in His love towards us in the sacrifice of Christ on our behalf.  Verses such as 2 Corinthians 9:7 ring true with us where the apostle Paul encourages us to give from a generous and cheerful heart, not one under compulsion. When we see needs, when we see lack of resources, we desire to intervene.

Often we want to provide the needed resources for others because we have access to those resources – from our own personal resources or from resource rich contexts (churches, agencies, foundations or other individuals).  There is nothing inherently wrong with this heart direction.  However, it would be good to ask a process question before accessing those resources for others.

Here’s the question: what is the best way to create a heart of generosity in those I am seeking to serve?

It could be that one’s gracious offer of help will stimulate a heart of gratitude among others so that they themselves will do likewise for others.  Or, it could be that our generosity might create a dependency that stunts the growth of such a gracious heart.

I’m also not talking just about financial resources. It could be people resources or tangible resources such as building supplies.  If we deprive people of the opportunity to discover for themselves how God will provide for their needs, we may train up a disciple who looks more to be served than to serve. Rather than training up one who serves others out of a generous and cheerful spirit, seeking to create that same heart in others

5 Responses

  1. I agree with what you wrote here. All people face this issue one way or another even if not living in an extremely poor country. I know I have given (helped) when I shouldn’t have and I know there has been time when I held back when I should have given….hard to know what to do ever single time but I believe your question gives a guide in those moments.I read recently that part of our role as Christians/missionaries is to restore the identity back into people. Show them their real value in God as a person and as a participant in this world. Sometimes I wonder, as you said; if my “helping” has crippled them further rather than lifting them up to see their role.

  2. I agree with James. This is one of the most difficult things to balance as a Western missionary to a country that is used to getting aid from the West. Just the color of our skin puts us into the “wealthy” category, which comes with certain social responsibilities. As an American, trying to live like your impoverished neighbors is insulting to them and they will start digging holes in your backyard looking for where you buried your gold (I’m not kidding!). Fitting in to the class you are put into is the best way to go, but that comes with it’s own challenges. How does a “wealthy” person live in this society? What are the expectations and responsibilities of someone in your class? Sometimes not giving enough will alienate you, and giving too much will make others angry who did not get the same.

    Looking at our disciples, how do we foster the Christian generosity that we see in Acts, especially if it does not exist in the culture? I wish I had an answer to this. But, there are signs that the local church here is starting to take care of one another in an Acts sort of way… and I can only think that it is the Holy Spirit working in the believers hearts that has prompted this new generosity because I can’t think of anything that we missionaries did to foster this!

  3. Great thought and I would love to hear how others have intentionally done this. We see a lot of the people who have received, but do not have a generous spirit from the process.

  4. Thanks James & Bryan! I think the issue of ‘restoring value’ may be an idea to further pursue as we reflect on this subject. It seems that was at the heart of what the pastor was trying to do in this village shown in the video.

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