So this weekend I along with a friend and her husband I went to The City. We took BART in and walked a few blocks to get to the GREEN Festival. Call me a hippy at heart, but I had a great time. There were a ton of booths about how to green your home, fair trade goods, and renewable living choices; but for me it wasent just about the booths. God had a few people in mind for me to meet.
As I strolled around the main floor of the festival something caught my eye. There was a booth with African baskets for sale. I stopped by and took a look. They were stunning baskets handmade in Rwanda. After chatting with the nice lady running the booth I kept going. Little did I know that just a few booths down God had something for me. There was a both called "African Mamas." It was full of colorful shirts, beads, and more from all over Africa. There was some Kenyan beads that just sent me back to the hot orange sun of Kenya. I smiled and kept looking. The lady running the both came up to me and we started to talk. I asked if the beads were Kenyan and and with a surprised response she said they were. We started talking more about our lives. I told her I have been to Kenya off and on for the last three years and at the end of this up coming summer I would be moving to Africa (Thank God she did not ask what country....because I still don't know). I got a few things (one is a great Christmas gift) and she asked me for my name and email. She said she is always looking for contacts that know Africa. As I was about to leave a young lady stopped me. She said she had over heard my conversation and would love to hear more about the orphanages in Kenya I have worked with. She is starting one in Lago de Atitlan, Guatemala. She is looking to talk to other that have start orphanages to get ideas of what she is getting into. It was a great time talking and exchanging contact info. As I walked away I felt God's hand on me, leading and guiding every step I took at that event. God is so good but that is not what I wanted to write about. He is and we all know that He is but there is something that HIT me.
Tonight I was checking out the website of the young lady I meet starting the orphanage. I loved reading about her, seeing her pictures form the last trip she took, but the thing that got me the most was the video she had listed under inspirations! It is the founder of a micro loan website speaking on how the nonprofit came to be. She talked about how she learned of the poor in her Sunday School class. How she knew she was asked to help. Filled with excitement and passion she started to do so but then learned that Jesus said the poor will always be with us. She started to see the poor as an never ending line of people asking for things. She started to give out of guilt and then the guilt was replaced with a new feeling. Somehow the giving became a commodity. As I heard what she said I was floored! How can giving become a commodity? But then as I listened to how she described it and what it had done to her it was crystal clear. And it made me start to think.
In today's world giving has become a commodity. People do it because it makes them feel good. There are gift giving catalogs that make it simple to give someone in need something as a gift for other. We seen the commercials on TV all the time for organizations asking for money so they can give it to others. The more and more I thought about it the more my heart broke. We have high jacked something that God asked us to do n order to bring glory to ourselves (there is a deep pit in my stomach right now). Where did we make the turn of doing something for someone in the name of US insetd of Jesus?
The video goes on to say that the founder had learned so much when she packed up and moved to East Africa for three months. She learned how the people just wanted a a little help more so then a hand out. The movie does come full circle and gives hope but I am still hung up on the fact that, we as humans have lesson-ed the meaning of giving. Truth be told there are many great givers out there that give with the intend that God has designed. But this thought of how giving has become a commodity just rocked my world. What about you?