I have just returned from two weeks in Nepal. Rush hour traffic in Kathmandu has become increasingly intense over the years and yet has some of the most patient and respectful drivers I’ve encountered. Being in a different culture can challenge something we consider normal. Their generosity in the intense traffic is an amazing experience that caused me to ponder how this might bring life in other situations.
Eugene Peterson puts it “if there were someone patient and courageous enough simply to share what we are going through – give us the great honour of paying attention to us, treating us as significant persons just as we are” we would empower people to take responsibility for who they are. Of course, this does not depend on what others deserve, although easier if their life more closely matches what God says. Perhaps, if we took time to see what God sees in another then we might see amazing things happen.
The busyness of life so easily robs us of this gift of life. The other day I was navigating through a crowd of Christmas shoppers when a man approached me for help. I was so focused on completing my task that I dismissed him without a thought. Later I wondered how often I do that and miss an opportunity to touch another life. For me, this is to do with taking the time to see, agree with and speak out what God sees or says about that person. When we do this I believe we breathe life into another. This then allows the possibility that they may become the ‘masterpiece’ (Ephesians 2:10 NLTse) God sees and purposed.
The starting place for many of us is to start with what we have. This may be a prophecy, a word of knowledge or a word of encouragement. However, it is more than these things for, without love….(1 Cor 13:3). It is the kindness of simply giving of ourselves by connecting, valuing and reflecting God’s heart for our world. This generous living changes us and also empowers others to be who they are meant to be. It can bring a freedom and deliverance from the temptation to be someone they were never meant to be. Ultimately, I believe it enables truly authentic lives and that has to be good.
Every time I go out for a meal I wonder how best to tip the waitress or waiter. It is so easy to tip on the basis of how good the service was or wasn’t. Yet Jesus deals with us generously, not according to what we deserve. This has given me a new release of generosity that has not only changed me but has the potential to change others. Sometimes it costs me to see the good and not the bad. What if we were to see what God sees in the politicians, the celebrities, the leaders in business, education, arts and media. To sing a different tune to the world around us may cost us but could also release miracles that change lives today.
At the heart of the universe is the mystery of the eternal relationship of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is sometimes described as a ‘Divine Dance’ and generosity is the supreme expression of this relationship. As we join this dance we can breathe that same life to those around us, even in intense road traffic.