A giving heart is special because it is marked by the essence of the gospel — God so loved that he GAVE his son. If the work of God occurs in a heart, the person wants to give. As he matures, his giving and his love and his fruit increase. This is the promise of the scripture and our heritage as believers if we do not retreat from God. Our small little ministry has been the recipient of actions by giving hearts that have been touched by Christ. We could tell multitudes of wonderful stories, but here is just a few that are based on the people in this collage. I will start with the couple in the upper left and will work counter-clockwise.
My wife is short. I was working full time when we had a food ministry; Linda had to direct the receiving and distribution of food for the poor. Being a woman and being short among a group of church leaders and truck drivers, who delivered the food in 18-wheelers, sometimes made for interesting situations. She had to run the operation with a group of people not accustomed to a woman being in authority. And, to make matters more interesting, the church representatives were from different ethnic backgrounds and types of churches. Maynard helped Linda, treated her with utmost respect, and encouraged cooperation by how he acted. He and his wife GAVE us love with feet through their assistance time and time again. We have never forgotten and remain good friends. When we visit their church, it seems like it was yesterday when they encouraged us although the food ministry stopped years ago.
Rudolph and Lou stood by us and encouraged us in our early days. Rudolph could not get around, and felt bad because he could not work along side the men doing heavy labor with the food ministry. But he did something special: he delivered cold water to all the workers on hot days when we were sorting food boxes. He was the type of country person that most important people in the world and most church leaders would not give a second thought, but for us he (as well as his wife) were gifts to us. On more than one occasion I was pleasantly surprised at the wisdom that they expressed to us. “And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple….he will certainly not lose his reward.” Mat 11:42
Gordon and Teresa have been faithful to God for years. Moreover, they made special arrangements at critical times to assist one or both us when we were in need of encouragement or some kind of practical help. They did these things at their own expense and because the love of God constrained them to GIVE of themselves. Their fruit has continued, and the love among us has grown. We have helped and GIVEN of ourselves to each other many times.
A number of years ago a little girl GAVE me envelope with money to help Uganda. It was well before we had made our first trip, but I will never forget the change that she had carefully placed in the envelope and sealed tight so nothing would be lost. Some things you remember with detail and this scene was one of those. When I see a picture of her from that time period, I remember her gift and it reminds me to be careful when anyone gives anything for the brethren in need overseas.
After some testimony about the Uganda project and some of the children’s needs, a young Chinese teenager gave me a box of school supplies for the school. Later she wrote a letter to one of the orphan girls about her age and provided a small monetary gift to help her school needs. I delivered both gifts to the same orphan a few months later on one of our trips. The young Chinese teenager had a GIVING heart; it moved her to act. She touched hearts of people that she will probably never meet.
You see, when God moves in our hearts it is because we become aware of His gift of love for us. His love and work in us causes us want to do the same things: to give of ourselves. The faces of giving hearts may be old or young or white or black or any other color, background, or age. The result is the same: Christ’s love begins to change and transform us so we want to give His love to others. That love expresses itself in common understandable ways. It has ‘feet’.
I have come to this conclusion, if a person who claims to be a Christian does not seem to want the love of Christ to touch others through them in plain, simple, understandable ways, perhaps they need to examine if they knew him to begin with. How can I be so sure of this? Read Matthew 25 about the sheep and goats. The parable is all about how to recognize the faces of giving hearts.