Monday, 23 November 2015

What this community has taught me about being generous

People in our community are so happy to just give things away, rather than trying to sell them!  I was particularly struck by this when I saw a friend on Facebook trying to sell his stuff before he went overseas.  It was such a contrast in my eyes.  Fair enough if you need the money, but I feel like the students here probably do need the money, but they have an attitude of generosity and happily give their things away to other students.  

Just as an example: we've had two offers of a cot for the baby, and they didn't want any money for them (I asked!).  Someone is giving us her stick blender when she moves out.  We've had many offers of baby things that we haven't always been able to accept because we just don't have room for it yet.  And this is just a taste of the generosity of this community.  

And it has taught me to be generous too.

We have college friends who lives just outside our college community (down the road a little bit), but who are still considered part of the community.  I think they know us best and so often will ask us for help in the form of "Can I borrow some baking powder? I thought I had some but it's baking soda."  They also used our washing machine for a few weeks while theirs was broken.  

And a couple of days ago another friend from our community knocked on our door twice, the first time to borrow some cocoa powder, and the next time a muffin tray.  The other day a friend knocked on my door to ask for some sewing advice (not that I'm anything of an expert!), and then again later in the week to show me the finished product.

I'm not saying that I'm the fount of all help in our community, this stuff actually happens all the time between everyone.  Sometimes people will send an email to ask the whole community or sometimes they'll approach someone individually.  

I have realised that I love being asked to help. I love that people think to ask us for help. I feel that often people don't like to ask for help, or think that they are being inconvenient or a free-loader when they ask to use something you have.  Sometimes I feel like that!  But I actually enjoy helping people in this way.  So that has changed my attitude to asking for help.  

I remember a sermon I heard a few years ago, and the preacher said that being a good neighbour can sometimes mean asking them for help (rather than offering help), because it gives them a chance to bless you with the skills and resources that they have.  I can certainly say that I have enjoyed blessing my neighbours who have needed help.  

I'm now in the process of cleaning out our second bedroom to get it ready for the baby.  It's currently a study and store room so it really needs a big cull.  Occasionally I find myself wondering what I might get if I tried to sell some of the things I want to get rid of, but that's a rare thought.  I really want to be generous and able to bless my community by giving things away.  This community has been a blessing to us and that has in turn encouraged us to be generous, with our time, resources and attention.  I hope others around us can see this generosity and know we are Christians by our love (John 13:35). 

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