Since our news industry is obsessed with fear and negativity, you may not have seen this amazing story recently about one man’s incredible generosity.
A couple months ago NPR posted a short story on a man who intentionally led a frugal life, so he could leave millions to children’s charities after his passing. (LINK)
Alan Naiman was a social worker and a foster parent. You could surmise from his choices and lifestyle that he was both called and equipped to serve children.
So last year, when he passes away he leaves a fortune to several children’s charities. Some of them were small charities that received their single largest donation ever. A wonderful story, but beyond the sweet shock of his financial generosity, there are a few lessons here for us all!
- Alan had a vision. It gave him power and purpose.
- Alan sacrificed for a greater good.
- Alan saw it through (sort of) to fruition.
Alan had a vision. He dreamed of providing assistance that he did not find available. He made it himself. His vision provided him good reason to postpone pleasure, creature comforts and indulgent experiences. He found his mission and embraced it as though his life depended on it.
Though he couldn’t be physically present when his gifts were doled out, he could still see the impact they would have. Like a farmer nurturing a garden, he could tell from the quality of soil and burgeoning produce, that the bounty was going to be exquisite. And that was it’s own reward.
Now consider that God will never be outdone in the giving department.
If Alan could discipline himself to build future benefits for an unmet, unseen mass of needy kids, I have no doubt that God prepared a front row seat for Alan to not only see those benefits distributed, but all the good fruit they continue to produce.
Every life touched, every soul impacted by his selfless spectacle, every dream brought to life, every bit of faith restored in humanity, every future act of generosity inspired – all of it and more will be gladly shown to him from his perch in Heaven.
Looking at the Corporal Works of Mercy (the material needs of others), Alan delivered by feeding, clothing and sheltering with his gifts. And not stopping there, his selflessness also provided means for some Spiritual needs through instruction, council and comfort!
So what can we do with this? What can YOU do with this? Consider for moment all of us being inspired by you and your generosity, after you’ve moved on to Heaven.
What does that look like to you?
In your imagination, what charitable acts, what gifts of the heart would you like to leave? The size gift matters not as much as the size of your effort. Not all of us have an abundance of resources to spare, but we all have plenty of unspent effort, waiting to be shared.
And you are more than welcome to start small. Alan’s story proves what a little time, planning and regular commitment can accomplish.
We all have something good, something that’s unique to us, waiting to be dished up for the nourishment of others. Alan’s story is magnificent, but it is his. Your’s is still being written. How will it end?