The Longing to Give

From Matt...

(The names in this blog have been changed to honor their privacy.)

During the immersion week one of our teams interviewed Sharon and learned that she recently had a pacemaker put in and is no longer able to mow her own lawn. She was very disappointed about this because she loves to be outdoors (and she has quite the green thumb). After the interview, our roving listeners brought back the info and we started to look for a connection. Right away we thought of Tom (my neighbor). He is currently looking for a job and enjoys helping out others. We asked him if he was interested and he said yes! We asked Sharon if she was okay with that and she said yes!

And so, this morning, I introduced Tom to Sharon and they made arrangements for mowing her lawn. The conversation was simple, kind and genuine. Sharon shared about her health limitations and disappointments, Tom shared about the struggle to find a job, and we talked about the lovely flowers in Sharon’s yard.

As we were getting ready to leave Sharon said, “I love to be active, and I’m sad that I can’t mow any more. If there is anything I can do for someone else, please let me know.” I promised her I would do that (and I will--I already have an idea!).

Through these interviews and conversations, I’m learning that Sharon is not unique. People genuinely want to be connected with the people around them and they want to contribute to the overall good of their community. In fact, I’m starting to believe that the American dream of ‘bigger, better, and more’ is not a path to happiness, but instead it leads to dissatisfaction. In contrast, what if happiness came, not so much from what we consumed, but instead from what we could give for the greater good? And if this is true, does the size, value, or impressiveness of the gift matter? I don’t think so; it is the giving--just like the Widow’s Offering from the gospel of Luke 21:1-4.