Acts 20:35 ...remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said...it is more blessed to give than to receive.
I have always liked going Christmas shopping. Mainly because I like buying presents for my family. Every time I travel to a foreign country I have so much fun picking out things I know they will love. I could spend way too much money on presents for other people. I find great joy in getting presents for people, especially if they were not expecting them. I have always enjoyed that type of giving. However, while living in Ghana I have discovered what it really means to give. To give of myself, my time, my energy, and my money.
I have not solicited funds for my work in Ghana since March 2009 and yet every month I am blessed by friends, church family, and supporters who God uses to provide for all of my needs. I am able to buy food, pay for transportation, pay the electricity/water bills, buy materials for the reading program, etc. And every month there is money left over. It has become my great to joy to share all that is left over with those in need here, or to use for particular needs around the VOH. I have always known that there is more joy in giving than receiving, but not really. Now I understand. I don't ever want the people here to thank me, because the money is not from me. Those wonderful, loving people back home that support me have touched the lives of people here in ways they do not even know. Providing library chairs, sending students to extra classes, paying for textbooks, providing money for medicine, paying school fees for kids who can't, buying school supplies... It certainly is more blessed to give than to receive. When someone gives me a great gift, I am very thankful, and humbled, and awkward.
There are unending needs here. Everyone could use more money. You don't know shoestring budget till you have been in a place where there is extreme poverty. There is no such thing as a budget at all for many of these people. It seems sometimes that the needs are too great, too many. But one day, one need at a time. I find that every time that I open my hands and heart to address the needs around me, God continues to take care of my needs. I am sharing this for only one reason: because I hope that you experience what it means to give. To really give. To give when you have, and to give when you don't. To give what hurts the most. The most difficult thing for me to give right now is time. I have made the choice to be here, but giving away time that could be spent closer to family and friends costs a lot. More than money could pay. But, the truth remains, it is more blessed to give.