I have been a terrible blogger lately. For a couple of weeks at the end of June and beginning of July I had some health issues and just did not feel like blogging. More excitingly, and thankfully just after the health issues were resolved, I headed to Zimbabwe, where J and I have and will be spending a short time working at a rural mission and then seeing loved ones.
To get to the mission, which is a few hours away from the nearest city, we caught a ride with a supply truck. At one point as we were driving along, the driver pulled over to the side of the road, where road-side sellers had a small selection of fresh produce on display, and bought five apples. He then gave an apple to each of us, including a fellow worker at the mission who had come in to help with the supplies. I was both humbled and touched by his generosity, as those apples would have cost a lot more relative to his income than they would relative to mine. As we drove along and ate the sweet apples, I remembered another instance of similar generosity shown to me a couple of years ago. Whilst participating in an archaeological project in Greece, the elderly shepherd who lived close to the site we were visiting welcomed the small party that I was with to his home, and generously gave us food and drink and hospitality, both on the way to the site and on the way back. Another instance of those with less than me generously sharing what they have.
Sometimes I wonder if the less one has, the easier it is to be generous. Whilst I might not have great wealth by western standards, by the standards of most of the world, I am extremely rich in material terms. These two incidents have challenged me to be more grateful for what I have and to try to cultivate a more giving, generous attitude.
“And he [Jesus] sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. and he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” (Mark 12: 41-44).