By Andy Baker
In Acts 20:35, the writer records the words of Jesus, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” I have always felt this way. Whenever I have had the opportunity to give a gift, to watch the person receive and open it with great anticipation is extremely rewarding.
Many years ago I was visiting an orphanage in Romania. As I recall, it was a summer visit and we had gone to spend time with the children and host a summer activity time with them. The day was fun, full of water games, loud music, junk food, and of course a serious time of encouragement as we taught the children basic life principles, like how to make good decisions. At the end of the day, one of the teens with whom I had a close relationship came to me and thanked me for bringing the group to spend time with her. She then gave me a stuffed animal as a thank you gift. This was not just any stuffed animal. It was one of the only material things she owned, and I had seen it in the dormitory accenting her nicely made bed. I had gone that day to give my best to her, and in return she gave her very best to me. She gave me literally all she had. It was a generous gesture, and to this day I have that stuffed animal as a reminder of extravagant generosity.
Two years ago while in Tanzania we fed a group of orphans and widows in a remote community. It was an amazing day as we provided the food, the ladies in the community cooked it over open fires. Then as our team served the widows and orphans, they sat and waited patiently until everyone had food in front of them. It was a generous moment for Remember the Children to feed that community. After the meal, I was asked to come and speak to those gathered, and then the community leaders turned the tables. They gave me a ten-pound bag of roasted peanuts. Their response to me was, “you came to help feed our community, now in turn, we want to help feed your group.”
Giving and receiving is a two-way street. For through generosity we are extending the blessings of our lives to others. However, in the midst of our giving sometimes the return on our generosity is a deeper blessing by what we receive.
The end of 2018 saw great generosity from our partners. We received some extravagant gifts which in turn will provide a home for a needy family, a church for a community in the midst of transformation, and an orphan home for a newly created family. Generosity brings life-change. Life-change changes the trajectory of the recipients who are being impacted. My hope for 2019 is that we will be a generous people, and that we will help navigate the futures of those we serve from hopeless to hopeful.
More About Andy
Andy Baker founded Remember the Children in 1996 after visiting Romania for the first time with his wife, Gerri. He has spent the last 21 years pouring into the people of Romania and Tanzania. He lives in Indiana with his wife and 2 daughters, is a Baltimore Orioles Fan, and loves a good game of bingo.