I don't think of myself as a particularly generous person. It goes against my natural inclination to give. I desire to be generous and try to be, but it's purely a work of grace every time I actually part with goods or money for the sake of blessing others and for the sake of God's kingdom.
During this last year we've been given much.
People with large families and the financial obligations that come with that, have given generously and sacrificially. Single older women, on a fixed income, have given generously and sacrificially. College students, with very little, have given. Newlyweds. Retired couples. Other missionaries. People we haven't had contact with in years have given. People we don't really even know have given. Close friends and family have given over and over again.
A nice older lady, who I have spoken to only a few times, approached me this morning at the store. She wants to give. Generously.
This year I've spent quite a bit of time asking people to give to us and this ministry. I've written blog posts about it, written a newsletter every month, and spoke at a few churches asking people to consider supporting us.
Even with all of that asking, it surprises and humbles me every time someone says, "Yes, I'll give."
I'm never quite sure what to say. Sure, I say "thank you" and "I appreciate it", but it always feels so empty.
I've been reading a book called Gilead. A pastor is explaining to his son, in a letter, the feeling that he sometimes had when preaching. He felt the poverty of his words. They just turned to ash in his mouth.
That's kind of how I feel when I am thanking someone for their generosity. It always feels like nothing coming out of my mouth. I truly mean it when I say thank you, but it seems so insignificant in comparison to what just took place.