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Friday, July 23, 2010

The Straw Mat

Look what Dan brought back from Africa.

No, not the children. Just the beautiful purple and white hand-made mat. It was a gift to Dan from a Ugandan pastor and his wife who are currently caring for, feeding and loving 11 orphans in their own small home.

The pastor, Ernest, and his wife, Mama Kathryn, own a number of these mats and use them like picnic blankets for outdoor meals. But their mats are not in shiny, new, perfect condition like the one they gave us. Theirs mats are old, worn and ripped.

Does it seem odd to you that they would give away a beautiful, new mat in perfect condition (especially to "rich" westerners who could just go buy their own) while they and their children sit on the old, ripped, worn mats?

This most generous gift reminded me of something I recently read in Kefa Sampangi's book "A Distant Grief," about Uganda and Idi Amin's reign of terror. Here's an exerpt...

"The humble poor give from themselves, not from their surplus. They give from the abundance of their hearts.... They offer weathly guests their most prized possessions. They give to the city dweller in their midst their only plate. They slaughter their last goat for men who own factories and have fat salaries. And it is seldom an attempt to impress. It is only a sign of respect. It is to say 'we are humble people, but we will meet you at your level. We are humble people, but take this, it is all we have that conforms to your own high standard."

What does your giving look like? Dan and I have a long way to go but one day, we hope our giving looks more like this.