Growing up, I witnessed a lifestyle of generosity in my family. Our home was always the gathering place for my friends from our church youth group. Many a Sunday night my mother would open her kitchen to us so we could bake cookies, roast marshmallows, or make honey-filled sopaipillas, often creating a big mess in the kitchen.
My life was enriched by my mother’s open heart in opening our home. Missionaries from around the world stayed with us for one night or sometimes weeks at a time as the need dictated. They would share meals around our family table and tell us of faraway places where the Lord was at work. These fascinating places came alive to me because my mother was willing to share our home with others.
One of my favorite memories of generosity comes from one Saturday morning when I was about sixteen years old. Our parents allowed my sister and me to invite about a dozen of our friends for breakfast. This was no ordinary breakfast, though. My dad and mom left our home at about 5:00 a.m., drove an hour north of our home, and cooked breakfast for us in the woods. We arrived several hours later, the delicious smell of bacon leading us to their woodland “kitchen” where they treated us to bacon, eggs, grits, and pancakes, all cooked over an open fire! I think it was one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten, served with great love and big hearts.
Seeing and experiencing my parents’ generosity influenced my own. When my husband and I built our home we included a two-bedroom apartment we call “The Prophet’s Chamber,” based on the story in 2 Kings 4:8-10. The Shunammite woman provided a space for the Prophet Elisha to stay whenever he came through town.
We love hosting missionaries, pastors, and friends from various ministries in our home, some for days or weeks and others even for over a year, as they had need for a place to call home. Our lives have been blessed and our ministry vision expanded because of opening our home to others. One of the great blessings of our generosity is watching our children live out similar lives of generosity themselves. With their spouses they have also opened their homes to others for short-term and long-term stays.
I’m so grateful for the generous heart my mother shared with me—and hundreds of others. Along with my father, she shaped a generous heart in me by living a life of delighted generosity. Their legacy of generosity continues to the next generation.