After my father passed away, his parents were broken in spirit and heart. There was so little any of us could do to help them through their grief. Additionally, I learned that they had sacrificed their savings to help dad with his cancer treatments and care, so they were left with a financial burden. My grandfather didn’t even have the money to pay for the hearing aid he desperately needed.
Years later, I still can remember so clearly the day I went to visit and have lunch with them. They saw a lot of my dad in me, so I knew my presence was a comfort to them. Naturally, I needed the comfort that I found in them too. We were all grieving deeply. I hadn’t expected any of us to experience joy, yet I found the seed of it growing rapidly in my heart until I almost felt like it would burst.
Hiding my emotions as carefully as I could, I handed them an envelope as I was leaving. I told them they could open it later. I wasn’t there for the moment they did, but my grandmother later told me that my grandfather sobbed when he found the funds he needed for his new hearing aid. It was, and still is, the best money I’ve ever spent. In the midst of our grief, joy overflowed from my heart. And this, I realized, was the power of generosity.
Today, nearly 18 years later, I’m in a much different situation financially, with three kids, a mortgage, car loans, and other responsibilities. Generous giving isn’t nearly as much a regular practice as I’d like it to be, yet recently I had an opportunity to see what a five-dollar bill could do in three different situations. Since I don’t regularly carry cash anymore, I found it odd to use the three five-dollar bills I had in my wallet. But I found three strangers to bless, and I watched the bills change the world for a moment.
In each instance, it was a brief, random act of kindness — something as simple as paying for the customer in back of me at the coffee shop. But each time, I felt my heart lighten, I saw the recipient’s demeaner change, and I realized that others seemed encouraged as well. I couldn’t help but wonder if, in a world with so much anger and hate, could we really make a difference with just five dollars?
The Bible says that God loves a cheerful and generous giver. I want to encourage you today, friend, to give yourself the gift of an overflowing heart that comes from the Giver of all good gifts. Let’s do something more than just talk about the gospel today. Let’s put our money where our mouths are. I encourage you to let generosity overflow from a joyful spirit and watch what God can do with just five dollars. Believe me, some investments really are priceless.