Each time I pack clothes for a trip I feel ridiculously blessed. (Not to mention how blessed we are to even be going on another trip.) All three of our kids and my husband and I have more than enough outfits for every season. I walk downstairs and look through bins of clothes that friends and family have given us and realize that I really don't need to go shopping for anything new except for maybe a pair of flip-flops or tennis shoes. And as my arms ache from the heaviness of stuff, I remember these couple of paragraphs from the book, "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan. (If you haven't read this book, get thee to a bookstore and purchase it or come over & borrow mine.)
"Remember the story where Jesus fed thousands of people with one boy's small lunch? In that story, according to Matthew, Jesus gave the loaves to His disciples and then the disciples passed them out to the crowd. Imagine if the disciples had simply held onto the food Jesus gave them, continually thanking Him for providing lunch for them. That would've been stupid when there was enough food to feed the thousands who were gathered and hungry."
"But that us exactly what we do when we fail to give freely and joyfully. We are loaded down with too many good things, more than we could ever need, while others are desperate for a small loaf. The good things we cling to are more than money; we hoard our resources, our gifts, our time, our families, our friends. As we begin to practice regular giving, we see how ludicrous it is to hold to the abundance God has given us and merely repeat the words thank you."
My arms are tired from holding all this stuff and my mouth is exhausted from saying thank-you repeatedly to God. I want to give freely and joyfully to those who need my money, gifts, time, family and friends. How 'bout you?