I once drove out of the Costco parking lot and saw a man with a sign that read “HUNGRY.” I had a $10 bag of trail mix next to me I had just splurged on in a moment of pregnancy hunger. In the minute I had at the light, I considered handing him the bag. But I thought, I just bought this, and it wasn’t cheap!
I am ashamed to say that I decided not to give it to him. I, who could have waltzed back into Costco and easily bought another bag, decided against generosity.
The moment passed as I pulled away, and I felt sadness overwhelm me. I was instantly sorrowful that I chose to be selfish rather than generous, that I thought only of myself and not of the greater need of this poor man.
Think about the times in your life when you gave generously to those in greater need than you . . . is there one time you can recall where you felt sad afterwards? Probably not. There may be times, however, like this shameful moment with my trail mix, when we can recall going away sad because of our own pitiful inability to love like Jesus did.
Jesus asks the rich young man for one thing—radical generosity. (Matthew 19:21) He asks the same of us.
Perhaps when the basket at church comes around on Sunday, we give what feels comfortable rather than what stretches us. Perhaps we give a homeless woman the the $5 bill in our wallet rather than the $20, even though we would survive without the $20. Maybe it’s a moment where we have more time to give than we let on so that our friend in need stops talking and we don’t have to listen anymore! Giving comes in many different forms, and there is one thing I know will stand true in life . . . I will never know a radically generous, but unhappy, person.
I can’t go back and give my trail mix away. But I can learn from the sadness I felt at my selfishness, and let it propel me to radical generosity in the future.
This week, let us be women who go out of our way to be generous, who give more than feels comfortable, who seize every opportunity to give of our time, talent, and treasure back to the Lord and to those in need.
Emily Wilson-Hussem planned her whole life to become a sports reporter but turned out to be a Catholic musician and speaker at the hand of God. She lives out of her suitcase and travels across the world speaking to people of all ages. The heart of her ministry is offering encouragement to teen girls in search of their true identity, and she loves every second of it. She is the author of I Choose the Sky and Go Bravely. You can find out more about her here.