Written by Becky Rosaler on December 8, 2016 in General, Sower
Two thousand years ago, Jesus walked the earth. His actions and teachings were countercultural, unlike anything the world had known. At Christmas time, we celebrate his birth. And we celebrate his life, sacrifice, and divinity with each daily decision we make to be more like him.
At Plant With Purpose, striving to live like Jesus is core to our organization. It is built into our program model as we seek spiritual renewal in partnering communities. We long to see God’s kingdom here on earth—to see kingdom values lived out amongst believers. Seeing love, joy, peace, and kindness demonstrated by partnering families is the fruit of spiritual growth. The countercultural act of generosity is perhaps the most tangible fruit we witness. As partnering farmers think about the needs of others, they reflect Jesus.
Paul instructs the Philippians:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
Time and again, stories of the generosity of partnering farmers reflect a maturing faith that takes into consideration the interest of others. As Plant With Purpose families cut their level of poverty in half, they are choosing to use their resources in generous ways. Many proudly share how they are no longer on the receiving end of generosity but now can give.
This movement toward generosity is so apparent that it can be measured. Plant With Purpose’s impact evaluations show that Plant With Purpose participants report helping their neighbors 20 percent more frequently than nonparticipants.
We see generosity as partnering families spend hours helping neighbors construct soil conservation barriers, reforest hillsides, or prepare the land for a family garden. Communities come together to build cisterns, save money together, and hold Bible studies.
Robert Mtey (pictured above) in Tanzania is working hard to rise above poverty. He is in the process of constructing a modern home. Half-built red brick walls outline the new foundation he is building for his family. But when we visited his family, he took us straight past his house and shared what he was truly excited about: he wanted us to meet his goats. Goats are some of his most valuable household assets. And in his wealth, he is giving back to the Lord. Robert proudly explained that for the first time, he is giving a goat to his church as his tithe this Christmas.
Duiella Morissaint (pictured below) breeds bunnies in Haiti. Rather than charging her neighbors for these animals, she gives them freely. She also gifts seedlings to her neighbors—coffee, avocado, and citrus. Duiella is actively living out her faith in these acts of generosity.
Diguilda Torres participates in a savings-and-loan group in the Dominican Republic. Diguilda shares, “I want to give thanks to God. Thank you to the Plant With Purpose staff for walking along side us. I have learned through this group that we need to put God first. In this group we do not just learn about economic development but also spiritual renewal.”
When asked how she used her savings, Diguilda hesitantly shared that she and her husband used all of their savings to care for a neighbor who became incredibly sick. They gave it all away. Can you imagine? For the first time in your life, you have saved enough to improve life for your family, but instead you follow the Lord’s leading to give it all away. This truly is a countercultural demonstration of Christ’s love.
Plant With Purpose partnering families are rich in good deeds. They give generously. In their generosity, they reflect God’s kingdom come to earth.
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
1 Timothy 6:17-19
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