Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Legacy Of Generosity

Often, my husband and I are blown away by the generosity of others.  Sometimes it's an anonymous gift in the mail, sometimes a bill or two given in a friendly, covert handshake at church...but most often it comes from family.

It's no secret that my husband doesn't make very much money...most people in ministry don't.  Technically, we're below poverty level, but have NEVER gone without...because the Lord is good to us...and so is our family.

Just the other night we were talking about how it just doesn't make sense that on our salary, our family is able to do all the "extra" things we do...eating out, going on dates, going to the movies, buying little extras at Wal-Mart, etc.  We don't always know where our extra money comes from...but sometimes we do...

My sisters are always so generous with Ryan and I--giving us money for dates, paying for us when we eat out, buying us little luxuriates like "continuous spray-on sunscreen", and big things, like a van (yes, one of my sisters gave us a van!) and the list goes on.

They have inherited a legacy of generosity...

You see my father is a living legacy.  He is one of the most generous men I know.  He will often go without, just to bless his family.  He and my mom live humbly when they could live lavishly and selfishly...why?  Because they consider others better than themselves.

I never knew why, but I have always struggled with an awful, judgmental attitude towards "poor livers"...not poor people, but I mean, people who live poorly, as in selfishly.  

Whenever I hear a family of 2 or 3 that makes twice (or more!) our salary complaining or acting like they have no money, they can't give to this, they can't help out with that, it just irks me.  Especially when I see them continuously adding to their wardrobe, adorning their house and sprucing up their cars.  It's judgmental and ugly, I know...I'm just trying to be honest here :)

Anyways, recently I was repenting of that attitude and wondering why I get so flustered by these "poor livers" when it hit me...that is just SO contrary to the legacy my father lives and breathes.

He is a giver.  

Here's a funny story just to let you know how serious this is:  I can still recall the first time my dad confronted my husband.  We had borrowed my dad's truck and before returning it, filled it with gas.  My dad was so mad!  He took my husband aside later and told Ryan to never fill his gas tank again...Ryan light-heartedly chuckled as he said "Okay".  Which drove my dad take a step closer to Ryan, look him in the eyes and firmly repeat, "I'm serious, don't ever do that again.

Boy did my dad get his point across to Ryan that day!  Ever since then he has never even thought about trying to pay my dad back for anything...and that's just the way my dad wants it!

Only once in Ryan and I's dating/married life have Ryan and I paid for ourselves when eating out with my parents.  One time dad even let us pay for their meal...well, he didn't know until after the fact, but still, we got away with it!  :)

He (and my mom) have bought us a van, helped us out of numerous financial woes, paid my college loans off relieving a huge burden...

And yet every time we visit my parents we're given a stack of money..."a stack" you ask?  Yes.  "Every time" you ask?  Yes...Along with clothes for the kids, gadgets for Ryan, purses for me, etc.

In fact, after visiting them, my sons will often ask on a special trip to Target or at a "fancy" restaurant (meaning here is no drive thru!), "Did MooMaw and Papa bless us again?"

My kids know first-hand the generosity of their grandparents.  

And so do all the truly has become a legacy...and everyone is catching on!  From the little ones (Luke, Elliott, Hudson and more!) to my sisters and their husbands, we have a family that loves to give.  So many times my sisters CHILDREN have blessed Ryan and I with something we didn't deserve and they didn't need to THAT is humbling! 

I believe it's because of my dad, that us girls married "givers".  Generosity is a tried and true trait among the "son-in-laws".  They are all givers.  Even my sweet husband, whether we can "afford" to or not always wants to find a ministry or person to give to...and we do and are blessed each time!  

But we weren't born this way, it's what we see modeled in our parents year after year...we are a part of a family that loves to give their things to others! 

All in all, among our family, you won't see very many treasures stored up on this earth.  Because we've seen it modeled in our father and in our husbands that "it is better to give than receive".

And just look at the potential this legacy has!...
I can't wait to see where the legacy of generosity takes this next generation!!!  I believe many believers will be blessed!

(Happy LATE Fathers Day dad!  Your family loves you!)


Jessica Hanson said...

thanks friend, for the great reminder, of how truly blessed I am and how my attitude about giving really needs some tweaking.

:) Hope your day is blessed.

James and Bri Dodson said...

I truly believe this of your family! You and Ryan were never stingy in giving of your time and effort to all of us that were in youth group with you. And everytime I walk into our nursery I am reminded of your family.

I don't know if I told you this, but your grandmother - Sara - is the reason my grandmother is a Christian. My mom and her family lived down the street from your grandma and your father's family had a HUGE impact on their lives. My mom and grandma still love to hear what is happening in your families lives!

Your grandma (or your dad, not sure which) gave a dresser to my mother when she was pregnant with me. That dresser followed me to my first apartment and is now in our nursery. Every time I see it I am reminded of the legacy and impact that act and family had on mine and pray that I can impact someone else in the same way at some point in my life!

James and I also live on a small salary, but try to serve in any way we can. We try to make a point of being as generous with others as others have been to us! It is amazing to look at how God has blessed us in the past. One blessing in particular in the way of clothing for our sons. We have had boxes and boxes of lightly used clothing given to us and have clothes for them up to around size 6/8 in boys! It is so amazing!

Anyway, I was thinking about the dresser just the other day and meaning to email you...what a wonderful nudge from God to read your words :). God bless!

Rachel said...

That was a great post Grace! It's so refreshing to hear someone be honest and not try to pretend like they are rich! I see that so much and that is where I struggle with trying to keep from thinking ugly thoughts. What a blessing for your family to be able to give like that. I think sometimes we can forget that we only have what we do because the Lord has chosen to entrust us with it, and we need to make sure that we are being good stewards of HIS money. Your post was a great reminder! Thank you!

Sara S. said...

Hey Gracie,

Love this post and I love your family. I have had the privilege of experiencing your Daddy's generosity many times as he let me be a "Macias girl" with you all! He is pretty special as the rest of you all are! Although I also was blessed with very generous parents as well, I am learning first hand what the really looks like with my hubby. Obviously, being missionaries we make very little...and yet my husband still continues to pay for others when we go places or out to eat, buys the kids (all the kids here not just our own) fun things "just because" and blesses me with little surprises every now and again. He epitomizes for me what Generosity should look like, and as a result we too have never been without. So glad our children are getting to live with such Godly men as Daddys!

Gwen Toliver said...

God is so good - we too are very, very blessed with family that gives abundantly and shares. We are in a position now with Wycliffe that we are dependent on the gifts of God's people for our support - and although that was a big hindrance in considering whether or not to go with Wycliffe, we are so glad for the opportunity to see God provide for us in unexpected ways.

That was a long sentence but you get my drift.

I love your story - especially that you're not just honoring your father but you're also passing on this RICH legacy to the next generation (Psa. 78 - that's what we're all about, right?)

mallory mcmillin said...

I loved this post, Grace.
You have no idea how you and Ryan have helped shaped my view of generosity...I remember going on a mission trip to El Salvador and getting financial help you guys spoke volumes and just taught me a lot...and you didn't even have to use words : ) and then for my wedding you guys made countless trips to LS, paid for wedding attire, blessed me with paying for my lunch and even cheesecake! I was overwhelmed...still kinda am. You and your family are such a picture of the gospel. We love you and thank the Lord for you and your fam!


The Blackley Tribe said...

Grace - It's Jason hacking into my wife's account again ;) one year my parents could not afford to buy presents and then on Christmas morning there were gifts under the tree. They said "someone" from church had blessed our family. I still to this day do not know for sure that it was your parents, but your mom and Dad were the first people i thought of and have always assumed it was them. Even if it was not, this is the legacy they are leaving. Love your WHOLE family!

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