Some encouraging things I've seen happen during the 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic make me hope our society will never return exactly to the way things were before.
Specifically, I've watched churches, neighborhoods, and families reach beyond themselves to give and help others in ways that we don't normally see during prosperous, healthy times. It's been a true blessing for me to watch these sacrificial acts of giving, and a challenge for me to consider how I can do so too.
In 2016 and 2017, I felt the compulsion to go on an extravagant giving adventure, and the experience changed my life. During that time period, I gave away all of my income, and I recorded the journey in a book I titled "Risking It All." I've seen an interesting spike in sales of this book lately. Apparently, people want to know more about how they can give to make a difference.
Because of this recent increase in sales, I recently wrote a Leader's Guide to go along with the book. The book and guide lend themselves well for use with a 12-13 week Bible study or book club. Both the book and the Leader's Guide are available on Amazon.
One thing I learned is that I can never out-give God. All throughout that year, I received well more than I could give away. My needs were always met. At the end of the one-year plan, I had a way more generous mindset on giving. It had given me such pleasure, and it felt so right.
And now, in 2020, I'm watching others give throughout this pandemic in ways they haven't normally given. I've seen giving from big organizations in unprecedented ways, and I've noticed giving in smaller, yet no less important, efforts.
Billy Graham's ministry, the Samaritan's Purse, has been on site in numerous of the areas hardest hit by the virus, providing medical care and spiritual counseling. Lately their doctors and nurses are stationed in the Central Park hospitals of New York City, tending to the needs of those sick with the virus. It's a massive work they do, and I commend and support them.
On a smaller level, I've watched my daughter, Rachel, and my grandtwins, Tori and Brianna. To date they've sewn and sold 100 face masks. They use all the proceeds to buy food store gift cards for families who are laid off and short of income right now. I couldn't be more proud of them.
Just this morning, I read in a neighborhood newsletter that a Little Pantry has been erected nearby in our area. Similar to the Tiny Library boxes we've seen now for years, these tiny pantries enable you to "take what you need, leave what you can spare." They provide a tangible way for neighbors to help each other in difficult times.
Then there are many others like my friend, Sue. Every Friday she or her husband checks on her elderly father. Using careful social distancing methods and wiping down doorknobs, etc., one of them stops in, makes sure he is okay, and drops off the groceries he needs for the next week.
Finally, it seems that many people are simply more intentional about caring for others during these uncertain and scary days. I've learned of many families that are keeping in touch more regularly by phone and video chats.
When we get on the other side of this pandemic, and we will, let's be sure we don't go back to the business as usual of life. No, don't go back there. Let's continue caring about our loved ones, looking to see the needs, and giving as needed.
After all, when each one of us finally lays on our deathbed, I highly doubt a single one of us will be saying "I wish I hadn't given so much."