Gandhi once said, “There is enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.” This often quoted phrase began as an encouragement to me. “That’s right!” I thought. “The needs of the world are not greater than our resources.” However, I soon became discouraged when I began to see the sheer size of the need. “How can I ever make a dent in all of this need?” I wondered.
What we require is a way to multiply our generosity, a way to take the little we can give and give it life. We require a system that puts our generosity into a stream strong enough to make an impact. That system is called community, and in a healthy community generosity can become an organic movement that multiplies and impacts beyond the resources of any individual.
A few months ago a group of people saw a need that was beyond the reach of any individual to meet. The junior high and high school students of our youth ministry loved their new worship pastor, Collin Jackson, and his fiancé. This young couple quickly dove into their lives and began giving themselves away to see life change in these students.
However, Collin did not have the tools he really needed to do the job. His musical skills, heart for the glory of God, and leadership acumen were off the charts, but he was playing on his beginner guitar. It was frequently going out of tune and just didn’t mix well in the live setting. When asked about it, he said he had picked out a nicer, yet modest guitar that would meet his needs. He had set his sights on it and would begin saving. Having just finished college and now preparing for marriage, he thought his budget would allow him to save enough to buy it in one year.
The students did not think that was a good timeline, and they decided to do something about it. They all started pitching in from what they had. Some gave $5; others gave $20. Word spread and more people contributed. In 2 months time a group of teenagers raised the money to buy Collin his guitar. They gave it to him as a wedding present.
Collin With His New Guitar!
This simple story illustrated an important point to me: we need community for our generosity to have its greatest impact. We need the stories of others’ generosity to fan the flame of a movement. We need the wisdom of people who know of the needs and the wisest ways to meet them in order to bring focus to our efforts. We need generosity in community because we can accomplish more together than we ever could on our own.