Living our discipleship is all about the choices we make. Do we make the choice that is life-giving? The one that is self-giving? Or is the choice simply about our own self? There are decisions big and small every day which reflect our life of discipleship. One of these is giving.
Jesus was always asking people to think about the choices they made. Do you want to follow me? Then you need to make a choice for life–leave your boats and nets behind; sell what you have and give to the poor; welcome the outcast; feed the hungry. All these choices are about following and giving.
Some people are in a situation or have the ability to give in a very big way, whether it is of money, or time or talent. Most of our daily life, though, is about the small acts of giving that accumulate into very large amounts of giving.
One day recently I sat with a group of women mostly all over 70. A couple of them talked about “not doing much”, or only doing small things. There were 22 women in the room. They were all women who had served others in a variety of ways throughout their lives. If we assumed around 50 years each of serving and giving and doing for others, they represented over one thousand (1,000!!) years of service and giving.
Recently Hurricane Dorian made its slow progress through the Bahamas and up the Atlantic coast of North America. There was huge devastation in places and people all up and down the coastal areas were being evacuated inland, their lives disrupted. There were countless acts of giving.
And here was one that stood out: There was a six-year-old boy in South Carolina named Jermaine. It was almost Jermaine’s 7th birthday and he had been saving up for ages for a birthday trip to Disney World. When Dorian came along and people had to be evacuated, Jermaine took his savings and bought hotdogs, chips and water for people having to travel from their homes.
From the side of the road, Jermaine served about 100 people with snacks and water to encourage them on their way. He said, “The people that are travelling to others places, I wanted them to have some food to eat, so they can enjoy the ride to the place that they’re going to stay at.”His grandmother said that he even prayed for a family while they had stopped at his roadside stand.
Some one, or maybe several someones, had taught a young child about giving and self-giving. Without any pressure except the desire of his heart, he took the money he’d saved for a special, exciting trip and used it to comfort others.
In walking in discipleship, sharing the road with Jesus and other followers, giving becomes not a hardship or a cold duty, but a joy and simply the only thing we can do.
It all takes practice. It takes teachers to show us the way. But all the small choices together become something wonderful.