My dad passed away in February of 2021 and I always joke that he was the homecoming king of our hometown, a place that he grew up in, his parents grew up in and that loved deeply. This was confirmed at his funeral, where we had to shut down the receiving line because we were already starting the program late, and there was still a line out the door.
We shook hands and exchanged grief with 2nd and 3rd cousins, local business owners, friends we had always vacationed as a family with, my siblings’ friends’ parents, and even the waiters at the local Mexican restaurant. My dad was loved.
Included in the long line of ‘Do you remember me? and ‘The last time I saw you you were this high’ was a man that said, “I know you have no idea who I am. I don’t think you were born when I met your dad.” He told my brothers and me he had worked at the company my dad owned before I was born. My dad had actually fired him. But then in true my-dad fashion, took him under his wing, mentored him, and made an indelible impact on his life. He came to the funeral with his parents, who also were impacted by my dad. And he was right. I had never seen or heard of his man.
The year after he died, we were invited by our local school system to give an award named after him: the Michael Gravitt Partnership Award. I thought, oh that’s nice, they named it after him. Only to find out at the actual award ceremony that this was named for him because he was closely involved in this program. A program that connected local businesses with high school students to help them learn real-world skills and trades. My dad stewarded his influence, gathered together all the local businesspeople he knew, and provided a pathway for students to learn from a local veterinarian or robotics company or construction company or hotel. And I had no idea!
But that was my dad. Generously giving of himself, humbly doing the work, not doing it for any posthumous reason. Not to have an award named after him or a line out the door for his funeral. It was just his character.
It’s the same for Our Heavenly Father. He does not give good gifts to His children expecting something in return. He did not give us His only son for us to give something in return. He gave freely so that we could have life.
God doesn’t need our giving but we can honor him with it.
God doesn’t need our gifting but we can honor him with it.
Just like my dad will be honored each year with the eponymous award for what he gave the school system, we can honor what God has given US.
“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.” Acts 17: 24-25
If you find yourself struggling to give, whether, in time, talent, or money, I encourage you to ask God to show you His character.
He is a generous giver, and without His help, we can’t do much anyway! God gives us the OPPORTUNITY to reflect his character, not the OBLIGATION. So consider your giving as a way to be a mirror. “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32, NIV)
Tory Vore is a writer, communicator, and small group leader with a passion for discipleship and the local church. She writes about motherhood, womanhood, and friendship, with God and others. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband James and two children. You can read more of her occasional writing at toryvore.com.