The Joy of Giving

Joetta with kids Recently, a group of us from the Atlanta suburbs went downtown to volunteer with an inner city ministry called Atlanta Dream Center.   After an hour or so putting together food bags and getting prepared, we jumped in our car and followed three youth leaders at Dream Center to our destination….a housing project of largely poor families.

As we drove in, we were  face-to-face with another culture….all seemed dark, empty and a bit unsafe.  Up came a large, extra loud man who sang a famous country song at the top of his lungs…laughing and smiling the whole time…was he drunk or on drugs…or just happy?  We didn’t know…we just waved and said “have a good day”.

The young lady we were with and the other group went to about 8 or so apartments to give out the food, express a kind word to the families and to invite the kids in the apartments to play at the small 40′ by 40′ “park” in the project.  No more than 15 minutes after we arrived around 15-20 kids came pouring out of their apartments to play.

Atlanta Dream Center has been serving at this housing community for several years.  The kids know the volunteers are coming each Saturday…they know that when the knock at the door comes around 11:00 AM to get their shoes on…to get ready to play.  There’s rapid agreement on the parent’s faces as they agree for their children to join in.  And oh, the kids love to play and be the center of attention.  Someone to catch them on the slide, someone to chase them, someone that knows their name, someone to make them laugh, someone to play with them and hug them…..someone to express love to them…right there at the monkey bars.

The kind and joyful young ladies of Atlanta Dream Center are giving in a consistent way that seems to be making a marked difference in these kids’ lives.  This is not a flash-in-the-pan program…it’s a long-haul program….in two words it’s ‘committed love’.   It’s a heart-felt, consistent, fun, organized kind of love…from the heart of God to kids who desperately want it.  These beautiful young ladies who are “block leaders” for Atlanta Dream Center are life givers.

Ellen with boy at park If you have not thought recently about giving to the poor and less fortunate among us, I encourage you to do so.  But, rather than just “doing something good”, I’d encourage you to seek God’s heart for what, how much, where and when to give.

Ask Him to lead you to the person, group or people He wants you to bless. When you do this you greatly multiply the value of your giving so that it aligns with what God has in mind for you and the other person….that’s supernatural giving.

The joy of releasing your God-given time, money, influence and talents is immeasurable.   The smiles on other’s faces as they encounter God’s generosity through you is a rich reward that will divinely motivate you to be a life-long giver to others.

Hearts Lit Up

On a cool winter ‘morn

When life seemed so gray,

A light came a calling

In the midst of the day.

~

Door to door

Sweet girls led the way,

“Is Darlene there,

can she come out and play?”

~

“Where’s your coat,

Don’t forget your shoes…

How’s your Mom?

Hurry up, we’ve no time to lose!”

~

Pouring out, like marbles on glass

Came shouts from all corners,

New joy here at last.

~

Giggles ensue and smiles abound,

“Pick me up, Pick me up

and throw me around”

~

“Help me I’m falling!

and chase me some more!

Show me some love

Before you head for the door.”

~

Three hugs goodbye

One more chase to the slide,

Thank you for coming

Now my heart doth abide

With heaven’s great gift

Of kindness and more

Where dreams do emerge

to a bright well-lit shore.

~

– WGS

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