(Not So) Radical Generosity

I have a serious addiction.And it's not to chocolate.It’s to giving.One of the most joy-producing things I do is give.Of course, I enjoy giving to my children and grandchildren.  I have been trying to give more events and opportunities and fewer things.  I love thinking about each one and choosing what would be special to him or her.  Such fun!I love giving to the work of God--to church and ministries that I participate in, believe in.  I feel privileged to participate with individuals who have surrendered their lives to serve God in missions—here or across the world.  It is especially delightful to be able to encourage those on a short-term outreach to help them be open to where God might lead them in the future.I am passionate about a lot of compassion and justice issues across the globe.   Anything that seeks to make a difference for women and children oppressed around the world catches my attention.  I care about rescuing and restoring the defenseless, enslaved, abused.  I want to help those in poverty because of things and people beyond their control.  Of course, I can’t give to all, so I seek God for wisdom.  And I pass on the needs of many via Facebook and Twitter.I also try to set aside money that I can use to meet needs of individuals as I become aware of them.  Sometimes I do this openly, but I especially like to do it secretly and imagine the person’s joy and gratitude at God’s kindness.  And I try to carry cash to be able to "give to the one who asks you."When we are through with some of our things, we gladly pass them on to others who might use them.My husband appreciates my joyful generosity, but he works hard to make sure we stay solvent.  Sometimes he reminds me that we do not have unlimited funds and I need to be prudent.Why do I tell you this?  Am I bragging?  I certainly hope not.  If my joy in giving will motivate someone else similarly, that would be wonderful.I write it because I am realizing that, as much as I have given, I have probably never given till it hurt.  The biblical widow who gave all she had did just that.  She gave all she had, with no sense of where more—the next meal, clothing, maybe shelter—would come from.  That is radical giving, and I am nowhere near that level.My long-time leader Bill Bright loved to say, “I never heard of anyone ending up in the poor house (shelter, on the street) because they gave too much.”So what am I saying?  Should I give away everything?  I don’t believe God is saying that to me—at least not yet.  But it seems that the joy I receive in giving would be even greater if it cost me a little more.I am asking God to make me a radical like Jesus.  In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said radical life choices should be true of me.   I should look less and less like the world and more and more like Him.  I think that calls for some changes.   So I am asking Him to speak to me, to show the way, to give me courage, to grow me into a true radical like Him.What about you?  Are you a radical?  Is giving a good place to start?c2012 Judy Douglass