Coincidentally, my favorite story about giving involves a gift I gave to someone, but don’t take this as a self-serving story to build myself. The summer before my senior year of high school, I went on a mission’s trip to Cuenca, Ecuador with my church’s youth group. Cuenca is a quaint town nestled in a valley of the Andes Mountains, and it is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. The mission was to bring a small bit of medical supplies relief to the physically handicapped in Cuenca. In order to be a part of the trip, each high school student was required to bring a wheelchair with them. We also brought dozens of canes and walkers along with us. As you can imagine, checking 42 wheelchairs on an airplane was no easy task, and the airlines wasn’t even prepared for us to be bringing them despite the fact that we warned them weeks in advance.
Our missions team was split up into four different groups. We rotated areas that we served each day between medical supplies giving and wheelchair fitting, construction work, and ministry to a women’s prison and childrens orphanage. I’ll never forget the day that our group was assigned to be at the clinic where dozens of physically handicapped people lined up to receive our supplies. I thought to myself, “Getting a wheelchair is the worst of our worries in the United States”. But in this poor mountain city in the middle of South America, wheelchairs were a scarce commodity.
That day, I met the man that received the wheelchair I brought from the states. It was one of the most powerful moments in my lifetime, because I was giving a gift that would change someone’s life. We took a picture together, and I smile every time I see that picture while flipping through picture books. We often take for granted the power of giving to others, and we often underestimate the impact that a gift will have on someone. The anonymous gift of $500 that a single mother receives during the holidays could allow her to provide for her children during Christmas. The scrapbook you make for your mother could warm her soul beyond any expensive gift you give her.
I know that the season of giving is over now, and we’re looking ahed to next year, but remember that giving is something you can do throughout the year, not just on the holidays. And remember that the difference you can make from your generous giving could have an impact on someone’s life for a lifetime.