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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Why I am thankful to be barefooted in the cold.

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of listening to Quinton Williams teach at The Beautiful Mess on the subject of generosity. Now when you hear church and the subject of generosity you probably immediately conjure up the image a a preacher begging for money and passing the plate around the church a couple times during his sermon. I am a little twisted so yes I imagine that as well, but in my mind there is that old guy who is making change in the plate.....makes me laugh. 

The thing I enjoyed about Q's teaching is he brought out the point
that our generosity is not solely tied to money. He brought out the point that the Gospel calls us to be generous in every part of our life, with our time, talents, and treasures.  Really you see all that we have is a function of the Grace that God has shown us, and if all we have is a function of that Grace then we should in turn be willing to share it with God's people. We should be quick to give of our time, of our talents, and of our treasures to not only the saints but to the people who have not yet experienced God's Grace. What better way to show someone who has not yet found that Grace than to selflessly give freely of yourself. To take time to help someone down on their luck, to volunteer at a shelter, to use your unique abilities to help someone who you do not know and does not deserve your help. And yes, to give freely of your treasures to causes that tug on your heart.

I was stoked that Q called me up at the end to talk about what generosity meant in my life and how we as a church could actively practice generosity in our community. That was the point Q and I got to each tell a story about giving out shoes in Mexico.
Mine involved a little 6 year old boy who had never had shoes and getting to place them on his brings tears to my eyes still today. Q's involved getting to give shoes to a man down and out in Mexico that he passed driving down the road on the way to an orphanage. I spoke about how broken I was by the fact every time I had given to a cause like that it was ALWAYS my left overs, ALWAYS the shoes or clothes that I did not want anymore, ALWAYS the stuff that was not good enough for me. How dare I give my leftovers to God who gave me His best, His Son. Q concluded by tell everyone he was convicted to give his best. He told us he was wearing a pair of Nike shoes our friend Casey Martin had given him, a nice pair of kicks! He felt he was being lead to take the shoes from his feet and give them away!

The band began to play, we prayed, and Q slipped off his really nice shoes and placed them on the stage. I knelt at the stage and began to ask for forgiveness of my selfish heart, I reached down and slipped off my shoes, as I raised my head to place them on the stage I saw it..........the shoes from well over half our church laid out to give to someone else. I was broken by the heart of generosity our church had just shown. Our church is not wealthy by anyway in which wealth is measured in America. Yet, they gave! Not there leftovers, not what was worn out, not what they did not want anymore. They gave what they had worn that night, thier best! This was not the culmination of a month long series where our people had came prepared to give something away, this was spontainoius and genuine, this was a heart of generosity in action. To watch over half our church walk out into the cold wet night barefooted was AMAZING!

So, that night as I walked around the church locking up the gates it was rainy, it was cold, it was wet. Everytime my foot with a soaking wet sock landed splashing in a cold puddle in that parking lot I smiled. Everytime my bare cold foot stepped on a rock or a stick my heart was broken and my soul was overjoyed! You see, that night my cold barefeet made me thankful to serve a group of people who were willing to not only be generous.......but were willing to give of thier best. My wet barefeet broke my heart about the condtion of my soul, but they also filled my body with hope and love. My wet cold barefeet made me so THANKFUL. May I always give my best to God who gave me His best. Happy Thanksgiving ALL!