I understand the hoarding mentality. After all, you can't predict what will happen in the future, so good thing you held onto that extra tube of toothpaste or else your teeth would really be suffering right now.
And Sheldon got it right about buying certain things in bulk. It's cheaper and means less awkward trips to the store to buy tampons. (More awkward writing about it?)
Don't you find too, that every time you give something away, the next week brings a situation in which you really could have used whatever it was you gave away?
I like to think of myself as a fairly generous person. The tithe almost always comes out of the paycheck (missionary paycheck? ha.) first. I try to constantly be on the lookout for ways I can help someone out, especially when it comes to a ministry. But there are those moments when it's just not very convenient.
The challenge came a couple months ago when a pastor talked about money being a paintbrush. Something poetic was said about how it paints the life you live, or the person you will be. Perhaps the more memorable moment came when he talked about how he and his wife ALWAYS tithe, and more than the regular 10 percent. Sometimes, he said. Sometimes we are then financially blessed, but in other moments, we are spiritually blessed. Specifically, in how many people he (as the pastor) has been entrusted with. He is able to reach more people with the gospel then ever before in his life.
A truer blessing than any financial gain could bear.
So I've been experimenting with giving even more recently. I don't exactly want to tell you about it all, because I don't want to brag, but I do want to share as a form of encouragement.
1. Recently, a woman who has been a missionary for over a decade was passing through. Recognizing her integrity after hearing the stories of her work, I gave her money.
2. Someone was in need of money for food. Even though I don't know this person very well, we all need to eat. I have no guarantee that this person used the money on food.
3. For our children's day (a major national celebration), I paid for some of the candies that were given away as prizes.
Around the time all of this was happening, Cristian's brother donated money for our childrens' ministry, covering the cost of the candies, plus some. When Cristian wrote me a letter the other week, there was 100 pesos inside. I asked him why, and he said he didn't put it there and that he did not know where it came from. It is obvious to say that money NEVER makes it through the mail here.
I have been given the opportunity to work more camps this year, where I am able to make some side cash to sustain other wants or needs I might have.
But even putting finances aside, more camps equals the possibility to know more campers, teachers, and the places they live (ranging from any one of the 23 provinces in the country). In these camps we are stressing the need to be compassionate, sharing biblical principles in how to be so.
In short (and more because I'm off to my next camp tomorrow and I need to sleep!), be more generous. Give till it hurts, and just watch how God opens doors! Love and chau!