Mitch Slate, who lives on the unevacuated side of Burgess Road, spent four hours handing out more than six cases of water to residents waiting to be escorted into the Black Forest burn area Saturday, June 15, 2013. Michael Ciaglo/The Gazette
This thoughtful man did not sit home and wonder what to do. He took initiative to go out and buy gallons and gallons of water to give to those who had been waiting and waiting to see their beloved homes.
An estimated 1,000 people lined the streets outside of the Black Forest Fire command center, Saturday night, to say thank you to the firefighters, national guardsmen, police officers and sheriff deputies working to protect their homes as they changed shifts. Many had lost their own homes, but wanted to be a part of the community that thanked the fire fighters for risking their lives to save their homes.
Thousands of people were affected this week by the fire with the most homes lost in Colorado History. (460 homes totally destroyed.) How amazing it was to see this community of people support one another, help generously, pray together, and show love in countless ways. photo Michael Ciaglo/The Gazette
Members of First Baptist Church on Black Forest Road pray Sunday, June 16, 2013 over church members who lost their homes in the Black Forest fire northeast of Colorado Springs, Colo. The church, which is just outside the evacuation area in Black Forest, held a community prayer and praise worship service Sunday. At least eleven church families lost their homes to the Black Forest fire. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette (Photo credits given to The Gazette)
Generosity expresses the way we perceive ourselves.
Living to meet ones own needs is understandable to one who does not know God. After all, if we believed that we had to take care of ourselves, because we did not understand that God is the one caring for our needs, selfishness and hoarding would be natural.
Yet, when one comes to Christ, it is not just to receive forgiveness and entrance into heaven. Humility and bowing our knees before the creator of the universe, must cause us to understand that our lives are not our own. When we give our lives to Christ, we give him our all. Everything we have belongs to God. Our possessions are not only for us to use, but what we possess is to be used for the service and provision of others. God entrusts us with resources because He wants to believe that we will be good stewards of his provision in order to help others.
Generosity, then, flows from a person who perceives himself as a steward of God's gifts.
However, the attitudes that are swirling around in our hearts, will most likely show and burst to the surface when difficult circumstances squeeze our lives. Devastating fires, so near our home, effected all of us in our community this week. Disbelief that a fire could come so quickly and devastate so many homes in such a short time left us all breathless.
Yet, as with many disasters, we witnessed an outpouring of generosity from those who had already decided that giving of themselves was one of the ways to most model the sacrificial life of Jesus.
As we housed sweet family friends whose house was at times right in the center of the infrared map, we watched them as they lived what they had practiced believing--the joyful and humble trust of God.
One morning, as they heard of family friends who lost their home, their first response was not fear of losing their own home. But, immediately, they pondered, "What would most help this family? Let's give a gift card to Target, get their kids some new clothes, and go visit them to cheer them up. They probably need a lot of support right now."
The heart of Jesus is to give whatever it required to save his beloved children. In our case, He had to give His all.
Generosity is caught when modeled. It is learned when practiced. It plants seeds in the heart when, out of great thanksgiving to God, for all that He has done, we give always out of our resources to His kingdom causes and to others who are in need.
When we capture the reality of God's nature being extravagantly generous on our behalf, this character quality born in our lives and trained into the lives of our children, reflects a wordless picture of a love that will reach hearts.
No wonder God loves a cheerful giver--it is a true reflection of His children behaving like Him.