“I’ve come to see the spiritual journey as the process of learning to let go and trust that everything we need to live out of our truest selves will be given along the way.” K. Killian Noe, Living as Though We Belong to Each Other
Does everyone have a need to give?
Gordon Cosby, the founder of The Church of the Saviour, told about a deeply moving experience he had related to that question. While serving in a small town in Virginia as a student pastor, the church deacons shared their concern with him about a woman with 8 children living on a $40 a month welfare check. They were worried the $4 she gave to the church each month was putting her family at risk and wanted Gordon to tell her that she didn’t have to put anything in the offering.
When he shared their concern with her she started crying and said, “Almost everything that is important to me has been taken away from me. I have lost my husband, I have struggled to look after the children, and there are many things that I want to do that I cannot do. The one thing that has meaning in life for me is to be able to give to my church, and you are telling me now that I can’t do it.”
Gordon said he never recovered from that experience.
Are we wired for generosity?
That question has given me pause to wonder as over and over I have heard stories of the poorest of the poor sharing what little they have with friends, relatives and strangers in need. Some even give everything.
In the booklet referenced above, Killian Noe, founding director of The Recovery Café in Seattle, told the story of Rose, a formerly homeless woman and addict, who more than anyone else embodied for her what it means to let go moment by moment and trust we will receive what we need. She said the most amazing thing about Rose was that when she received a $10,000 check from her father’s will, she donated every penny of it to the Recovery Café.
They told Rose she didn’t need to give it all and probably ought to put some away in case of an emergency, but Rose wouldn’t have it. “I belong to this community, which gave me my life back,” she said, “and I want to be part of giving someone else their life back.”
Are we wired for generosity? Do we somehow lose that connection as we move through having enough to being affluent? Does a crossed wire cause us to lose our sensitivity to need?
Blessings on your efforts to answer those questions for yourself,