If You’re Not Giving, You’re Not Living
It started with the memory of a memorial service for a Pastor I once knew. That was followed by a story of a man and his wife and eight children who sold their business to be missionaries in Nicaragua. And it ended with a video I happened to see on Facebook this morning. What I’m talking about is the 7 simple words
“If you’re not giving, you’re not living.“
It’s a catchy title, don’t you think? If you just read those seven words, you may nod your head in agreement, maybe file it away in your memory to dwell on later, or you may consider it a pithy slogan and not give it any further thought. But if you’re interested, here’s the story behind it.
My former pastor was a good man, wonderful teacher, and good friend to me and my family. Not full of bravo, not an attention seeker, he was just a man, normal and ordinary.
How he adds to this story is what happened at his funeral. His son was assigned to do his eulogy, to speak to the people who came to show their respect. It was not your normal eulogy. His son told of the years growing up in the church how he would spend hours waiting for his dad to finish praying for every single member of the church. It was a kind speech. It touched the heart of everyone there. But, what left us all in amazement was when his son asked for a show of hands. He asked the audience to raise their hands if they ever received money from his dad, or a visit at the hospital, a visit in the middle of the night, or clothes, or shoes, or furniture, or help going to a camp, or help with their yard work, or just a special conversation when you needed it.
The hands began to fly up and down furiously. We may have come to show our respect for a good and kind man at his funeral, but when his son asked these questions, we were in awe from the many lives this man not only touched, but changed with his lifetime of normal and ordinary gifts.
I pondered this and realized that this normal, ordinary pastor truly lived.
Last Sunday, we visited my sons Church. In preparation to our visit, I watched the previous weeks sermon online to get a feel for what to expect at this Church. Just before the sermon began, the pastor asked for prayer for a family raising money to go to Nigaragua for one year. The pastor encouraged all to contribute but also noted that this husband and wife with their eight children heard the call to go and sold a successful business to become missionaries. After the one year in Nicaragua, they would come home to no business, no home, no income. This family didn’t expect contributions, they sold everything they had to be obedient and give one year of their life and to trust God to supply what they needed while they were there and when (or if) they returned home.
I found that astonishing. I sensed a lack of giving in my heart. This was living.
Checking my Facebook page this morning, I found a video titled “Giving” posted by Kyle Idleman, author of Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus. Because my mind was already stirring from the other thoughts on giving, I watched this video.
What do I know?
I know that Jesus said “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” I know that small acts of kindness, pay great rewards. And, I’m reminded of the line from the movie Braveheart “Every man dies, not everyman really lives.“
Am I giving of my life to others, like the pastor? Am I giving of my future, like the family? And, am I giving in the moment, like in the video? If I’m not giving, am I really living? Are you?