God has used my brothers and sisters in El Salvador to change my heart. Before I went on my first international mission trip to Nicaragua, my house was full. Full of things. Sadly many of which were rarely if every used. I had heard a friend talk about a book called The Whole in Our Gospel that he read and what an impact that had on him. So I took this book on vacation with me (Actually it was a two week cruise for our 25th wedding anniversary!) to have something to read. Bad choice. As I sat in luxury on this boat having everything at my disposal, I read The Whole in Our Gospel. God had my attention.
Then the following years I obediently participated in our church’s mission trips to El Salvador. It is difficult to walk into someone’s home made of tin and dirt and then return to my house. I knew that if I changed my ways I will have more to share with my brothers and sisters here.
I read other books about living with less and simplifying my life. So I started the process of selling what I had. We have had two large garage sales where all of the proceeds were give to our church’s mission fund. A third is planned for this summer. I stopped looking through all those sale catalogs that come to my house in the mail. If my mail is obviously some one selling anything, I toss it directly in the trash can. That really helped me. I don’t shop online unless absolutely necessary. I also try not to waste things. I have become very conscience of throwing anything out that might be useful to someone.
There are many more things in my life that need to be changed. I live with plenty while some of my loved ones live without. There is no justification for that. I must have a generous heart, even to the point of sacrificing. That is love. That is what God wants of us.
How we spend our time and our money and all of our resources is important to God. I heard someone say that the mark of generosity is not what you give away but rather what you keep for yourself.
Look around you. Simplify your life so that you can be generous to others. Be encouraged. Press on.