Growing up, I was fortunate to witness the generosity of my parents. My mom was always quick to offer her time and talents to others. She led my Girl Scout troop, volunteered as a Sunday school teacher at our church, and gave her time to different organizations in our community. My dad coached all four of his children in sports — baseball, soccer, swimming, and football. He supported our community through his business and always shared a big, infectious smile with those around him.
My father passed away in September 2016. As devastated as I am over his physical absence, I remain challenged and inspired by his generosity and the legacy he left in his 55 years. My dad’s generous spirit touched many lives. He gave his time, financial support, and talents without expecting anything in return. His faith — built on a foundation of love, security, and trust — reflected his generous life and spirit.
Many stories come to mind when I think of my dad and the kind of man he was. One such story occurred at the car dealership that my dad owned. One afternoon while I was having lunch with him in his office, the service manager and an angry customer came to the door. I asked my dad if I should leave, and he said no. As the customer shared his experience, I remember my dad questioning whether his mechanic was at fault for the loose sparkplug that caused the costly repair to the truck owned by this man’s son. Ultimately, the customer realized that the issue was caused by his son and not by one of the mechanics at the dealership. The customer told my dad that he couldn’t afford the cost of the repair. Without hesitating, my dad offered to discount the repair, even though his mechanics and service department were not at fault. I remember asking my dad why he offered the discount when it wasn’t the dealership’s fault. He said, “It’s not about how much I can get from that customer; it’s about how much I can give.”
As the donor relations manager at The Upper Room, I am constantly amazed at the generosity of our donors and the support we receive. Their generosity reminds me of the lessons my dad taught me. The loyalty of our monthly donors and their steady commitment to the ministries of The Upper Room encourage me, just as my father’s actions have. I’m amazed at how willing our supporters are to give without expecting anything in return. It reminds me of all that Jesus gave throughout his life, his ministry, and in his death. Jesus said, “Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you” (Matt. 5:42, NIV). My dad and the donors who support the work of The Upper Room remind me to put Jesus’ words into action each day of my life.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION:
1. Who inspires you through their commitment to generosity and helping others? What is the most important lesson these persons have taught you?
2. Name some ways that you will leave a legacy of faith for others. Why is leaving a legacy of faith for future generations important?
3. Recall a time when you have been the recipient of an act of generosity or compassion. How was this experience meaningful for you? What did it teach you about helping others?