Monday, June 10, 2013

Generosity by Example

Other than our Lord, who is the most generous person you’ve ever known?

For me, it was my first boss.

Over the course of time, our relationship transitioned from employer/employee to mentor/protégé. Eventually we became friends.

My friend Ed had a way about him and everyone knew it. But until recently, almost eight years after his passing, I couldn’t put my finger on what elements God must have mixed together to make him such a special person.

I always regarded Ed as the smartest person in the room, even though his higher education had been acquired through the school of hard knocks. You see, Ed dropped out of school at the age of 12 to care for his family. He was married at age 15 and he and his wife Margaret raised three children. After the kids moved out of the house to pursue their own dreams and start their own families, Ed and Margaret took care of each other. 

Outside of his immediate family, Ed was best known by both his employees and his clients as a fair and honest businessman who didn’t have a hidden agenda. He always took care of his employees’ needs and earnestly cared about his clients as well.

So here’s the part about him that I did not “get” until recently. Ed was so special because he truly cared and did for others, without any expectation of payback.

Generosity and caring for others, without an “agenda,” go hand in hand – I get it completely now!

When we think about generosity in the church, most of us immediately think about giving financial gifts. I don’t know how much money Ed gave to his local church—it wasn’t any of my business—but I do know this: Ed McElroy was the most generous person I’ve ever known. 

You see, I firmly believe that even though God plants seeds of generosity in each of us, it’s the generosity by example of another cheerful giver that helps to cultivate those seeds.

Since generous givers learn by example, can you even imagine how vital our congregations would be if we all practiced generosity without any expectation of payback? With God’s help, our lives, like Ed’s life, could inspire many others.

Will you pray that the generosity in your life will become an example to others as you care for them in the same way that Jesus Christ cares for you – with unconditional love? Will you ask God through prayer to show you what he wants you to give?

Randy Hardy, member of McEachern Memorial UMC, North GA Ann Conf. 

God Is Still In Control!

Miss Lladale Carey
Web Content Producer

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