A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. Proverbs 11:25
Have you noticed how, in the middle of this worst-case scenario, a wave of giving is being unleashed? It’s as if the eyes of our hearts are being opened to those around us, and we are asking how we can access our resources for our struggling neighbors. Books in little box libraries are being replaced with canned goods; housewives are sewing masks; musicians are live streaming to bring hope; ordinary folks are putting together care packages; communities are handing out bags of household necessities; business people are forgiving rents; and people are reaching into their pocketbooks to help.
No one, no government entity has mandated generosity. And yet, from our nation’s spiritual heritage, we see people looking for ways to demonstrate care. Businesses are posting messages of solidarity and encouragement. Children are stuffing toy animals in windows to signal joy to their friends who can’t get together to play. Cardboard signs are popping up in yards expressing gratitude for first responders, for the medical profession, for our grocers. People are setting up online help sites for those who may need assistance. Calls of concern and love are ringing people across the miles while notes and cards are being put in the mail. Neighbors are talking to each other—again—just as we did before air conditioning drove us all indoors.
Could it be that these kinder, more giving selves are springing from a well that’s been waiting to be rediscovered? From One who’s tried to waken us from our selfishness? Could it be that the One who gave first and who keeps on giving has been waiting for vehicles through which he might flow his love and himself? Ephesians (2:10) reminds us that we have been created for good works, for “such a time as this,” to glorify God and to demonstrate his love.
I love the whole Joseph story but especially the ending. After being so heartless and cruel to Joseph and experiencing his grace in return, the brothers fear that Joseph will exact revenge on the death of their father. Instead, Joseph responds in love, “You meant it for evil; God meant it for good” (Gen. 50:20). This pandemic is unmitigated evil, but hearts living, breathing, and reaching out in God’s love can use it for good.
Sovereign Father, turn evil into good through us as we give ourselves as instruments of your love. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.