I wanted to share with you what happened to me last weekend, as it was such a blessing and a joy to me.
When I woke up that morning I was greeted with the usual beautiful smell of one of my room mates. To some of you that may sound weird, but many of you will know that I love smelling things, and my room mate happens to always smell spectacular. On this particular day I happened to mention this fact to her, and then I remembered – I myself needed to buy some new smelly stuff because I only packed limited toiletries when I flew over here. So, given that she seems to have extraordinary taste in such things, I thought I would ask her advice as to where the best place would be for me to go to get some good stuff at a good price (everything here is SO expensive). As it turns out, she always gets her stuff either overseas when on outreach or at the airport when leaving/coming back from outreach for that very reason. So I may have to wait some time before I can do that!! But then she said that she had a spare can of body spray that she got when she was recently in India, and that if I wanted it, I could have it. I accepted with a grateful heart.
About an hour later another one of my house mates (the one who would soon be leaving that I mentioned before) came into my room and asked if I would be blessed with some cushions. As she was packing up all of her stuff she had been praying and asking God who she could bless by giving some of her stuff away to, and she felt God say that she should give me her cushions. Now, to put this into context, ever since I have arrived I have been trying to think of creative ways to make my top bunk bed feel more homely. It is the only space in the world that I have to myself, and so I was wanting to put a bit of a ‘Jo’ touch to it! The only trouble is, like I mentioned before, things are really quite expensive here. And so although I had been thinking for some time that cushions would be quite nice to put on my bed, I decided that I really couldnt justify spending all that money on decorating my bed! So I put aside the thought and didnt tell anybody about it. Now, a few weeks later, without even knowing about my thoughts, somebody was offering me 5 free cushions. Not only that, but they also happen to be purple, my favourite colour, and the colour of my bedding, so they match perfectly! I told her I would be extremely blessed and accepted them with a thankful heart.
About 5 minutes after that, she came in again holding a UK power adapter, asking if it would be of any use to me. Again, to put into context, I made the rookie error of only packing one power adapter in my suitcases coming here. I didnt really think about it when packing, but it turns out that only being able to use/charge one thing at a time is really quite inconvenient. Only a few days after arriving here I discovered this, but was faced with the problem that there was no way that I would be able to buy a UK power adapter in Australia! I was either going to have to put up with it, or ask somebody to post one to me from the UK. Literally that morning I had been chatting to God about what a hassle it was, and within a few hours He had provided me with a second UK power adapter…from a New Zealander no less! (Dont ask me why she had one – I can only assume it was from her time in London!) A brief conversation later, and I was leaving her room not only with the power adapter, but also 1 plastic storage box, with the promise of more to come (which I have now received) – another thing that had been on my list of things to get! I accepted all of these with a joyful heart.
Later that day I was walking to the train station to head into the city and was thanking God for His amazing provision through other peoples generosity. And then, when I arrived in the city centre to meet with another one of my house mates for our 1 hour prayer chain slot – she asked me what I would like to drink because it was her shout, and she went on to bless me with an incredible chocolate milkshake, topped with ice cream and whipped cream! It was incredible. And I accepted it with a joy filled and thankful heart.
I couldnt help but laugh later on when I was reflecting on the events of the day. It was like God had deliberately set out to bless me and show me His generous heart and desire to provide for both my needs and those extra little things as well. I dont need cushions. I can live without body spray (although my house mates might not want to put up with my smelliness!) and a chocolate milkshake is now considered a massive treat. But our Father God loves His children so much, and wants to give us good things; not just necessary things. And it seems that God had decided to reiterate this point to me on this particular day in the most obvious way that He could think of!
But God wasnt the only person being exceedingly generous that day; so too were my house mates. None of us in YWAM make any money. We are all full time volunteers, trusting God to provide our finances in order for us to serve Him. And so giving things away, or buying things for others comes at a high cost, and is the sign of both a generous heart and one that hears the voice of God and is willing to obey. I love that I get to live in a community with some of the most generous people I have ever met. I wonder if it’s a coincidence that out of all the people I know, they are also the ones with the least amount of money.
Somehow I dont think so. Generosity is such a beautiful thing. Not only do people get blessed by it, but it also puts things in the world back into the right order – people first, belongings second. A heart of generosity shows that you fully comprehend the simple truth that all things come from God and belong to God; He has simply chosen to give them out on loan to you. And so when He speaks and tells you to give it away, you obey, understanding that it was never really yours in the first place. It seems to me that generosity is both an attitude and a way of life, and one that makes the world a much better place. My prayer is that God will bless me with a generous heart, so that I can be a blessing to others, in the same way that I have been blessed.