Saturday, November 12, 2016

Contrived Generosity

I arrive at school every morning when it's still dark outside and the halls are dark inside. At about 6:15 or so, there are few teachers and students in the building. Our SAGE DINING staff has our lunch and breakfast offerings well under way when I make my first stop, filling up the water bottles in the kitchen for our 7:25 basketball practice. Then, I prepare my classroom for the day, including some straightening up and opening my computer for notes, memory verses, and film clips. I also eat my breakfast in shifts, starting at 4:15 AM with coffee, green tea, grapefruit, raw oatmeal, and after lifting, a hard boiled egg. At school, I keep eating a little at a time. Several mornings ago, I was entering our high school office at the same time as Nathan Wagner, our Upper School Administrator. One of our freshman, Uwem, walked by and greeted us. Feeling benevolent and recalling my unending hunger at his age, I offered to share my breakfast with my former student. Politely, Uwem declined. I should add here that what I was willing to share was a stalk of celery and half a cucumber. As Umen walked off, I laughingly told Nathan, "That's the great part about asking if anybody wants my breakfast. I appear to be generous but in reality, I know there's almost chance they'll accept." He laughed with me. It appears that appearance is everything.

Truthfully, I find many of my offers to help follow that pattern. While not exactly insincere, I volunteer my services at times when it would be difficult for me to actually do much or when it might actually be inconvenient for the other party to accept. I ask how someone is without taking the time to really find out. I casually throw out, "Let me know if you need anything," without ever breaking stride towards my next destination. My life is hectic but nothing compared to that of Jesus. His generosity was never conditional and his kindness was never on the clock. He went with those who needed Him to come and stopped for those with immediate concerns. He could have made a big salad when He fed 5,000 but he gave the crowd something more substantial than just veggies. I take it that many of listeners were hungering and thirsting for righteousness that day. In the last chapter of John's gospel, Jesus cooked breakfast for His men after they had gone back to casting their nets out into the Sea of Galilee. Same menu that morning as in His big miraculous feast- bread and fish. I doubt any of the fishermen declined the spread. Undoubtedly, I can l learn a lesson about culinary generosity. Maybe I'll drop by McDonald's next week and make it right with Uwem.

Applicable quote of the day:
The gospel alone liberates you to live a life of scandalous generosity, unrestrained sacrifice, uncommon valor, and unbounded courage. 
Tullian Tchividjian

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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