I returned to work on Saturday, after a record long 35 days of government shutdown. Many lessons were reinforced during this month of uncertainty.
Lessons taught by Peter:
Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. [a]
Lessons taught by Paul:
I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. [b]
Lessons taught by Jesus:
Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. [c]
But my most striking observation during the 35 days I’ll try to sum up here:
- Sarah’s friend from the nursing home who gets $10 a week repeatedly offers to buy us food or give us cash.
- A family member with 9 kids and a single, very modest, income offers sincere financial help.
- My friend from the homeless shelter keeps checking in on me and tells me he’s praying for me.
- A couple from our church treats us to supper at a local diner.
- A friend unexpectedly drops off bags of groceries.
- Another couple from our church drops off a 50 pound box of chicken.
. . .and we didn’t ask for any of this.
It was incredible for us to see the generosity. . . and it was also incredible to see the earliest and the greatest gifts were from those who have the least. Could it be because those who have the least are more in touch with the needs of others? And could it be that those who are most aware of the gifts they themselves have received are more likely to give? (I think you’ll find a Kingdom principle here.)
Someone recently told me, “I don’t believe in handouts.” Well it’s a good thing Jesus didn’t tell us that from the cross, because the gospel of grace is the epitome of the holy handout. His life and His death are a testament to His indiscriminate giving of extravagant gifts to the undeserving, to those who can never pay it back.
And so as my family and I were humbled by the generosity of others, the most powerful lesson from the past 35 days was that each of these generous people who gave us gifts were representing (bearing the image of) the God who delights in a holy handout.