An update and devotional thought sent to an email group of prayer supporters by missionary Dr. Scott Dooley
I am so moved by the generosity of our staff at Nazarene Health Ministries. There have been a few opportunities to give recently for real needs. If you see the Prayer Mobilization list or follow the website (www.nazpng.org) or Asia Pacific news (www.asiapacificnazarene.org) then you may have heard about them. The first was the fire that destroyed a staff triplex – 3 families lost their home and everything in it. Within the first few hours staff and missionaries were giving household goods, food, clothes, and money to help these families. This continued for days.
The next was when we heard that the Melanesia Nazarene Bible College just 20 minutes down the road was completely out of food and on emergency rations. They planned to cut the academic year short to send everyone home. We had a meeting to announce it to the staff and they gave cash or asked us to hold money from their pay. They raised over 12,000 PNG Kina (about US$4,500) in one day and the College of Nursing gave funds from running their printing service to make the total over K17,000. Other churches and districts also brought food and money to MNBC. This immediate response by God’s people allowed the Bible College to buy enough food to finish the year.
This was the way giving is supposed to be in the Kingdom – we see a need, God moves our hearts with compassion, and we give of ourselves to meet it. It was good to see because we are not strangers to such generosity… but we are more often on the receiving end. Church people who have never even been to PNG give to meet needs at the hospital, work and witness teams come to build staff houses, and communities in PNG have brought truckloads of food to the hospital for patients and staff to bless us. Now was an opportunity to respond in thanks to God. So I was glad to see our staff also be generous especially since it wasn’t really a great time to be asked. The hospital is struggling with funding- the government is months behind on paying our salaries and operations. Although we haven’t missed paying our staff, everyone is a bit worried about what we are going to do. In fact when we called the meeting to talk about the Bible College many staff assumed we were calling a meeting to say we were cutting pay. We are also in the middle of a drought. We are encouraging everyone to conserve water and power since we run on hydro-electric. Gardens are dry. People are feeling some pain themselves.
Do we really believe God has control of all resources? If so, we should not be people whose lives are marked by worry and hoarding and debt but by generous giving and sharing. We don’t give because God needs our wealth. We need to give. It is an opportunity God presents to us to change our hearts. Generosity is the opposite of greed. Greed says, “I must keep all I can for myself”. Generosity says, “God will supply my needs and even when it doesn’t look like a lot, it will be enough not only for me but to share with others!”
These opportunities have reminded me of 2 Corinthians 8:2-4, how despite their own trials the Macedonian churches gave generously and “urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing”. Wow – do we consider giving a privilege? We should. Whether it is weekly passing the offering plate to give our tithe, or seeing a need and giving sacrificially, it should be a privilege –a cheerful gift. Generosity is not based on our wealth, it is based in our desire to love God and love others. It is an expression of faith in the goodness and provision of God. God has given to us (in giving us ability and opportunity to work, and through others who have blessed us) and He then uses us as a channel to bless others. In Kingdom giving, it is God who gets the glory. It is seen as God’s provision and grace by both the giver and the receiver.