Abundant Generosity

The Sukuma folks are known for their generosity. They certainly do not want to be known as “ngugu” (stingy) and are often quick to share – meals, gifts, help and implements or tools you may want to borrow. I have never experienced any reticence on their part when a pressing need was evident.

Often, I was on the receiving end of services or gifts given. My first experience when I returned as a missionary was when I was on an evangelistic safari with several African evangelists. After a day of meetings, we went to a village to spend the night. As the sun went down we held one last meeting of the day there and then were invited into the house of the “man of the village”. After a meal which his wife prepared for us, a woman came into the hut. She got down on her knees and opened up a little cloth in which was some money. There were 4 of us and, still on her knees, gave each one of us a gift of 3 Tanzania shillings each. That was when a T.shg was about 6 to the USDollar. That was when the wage of a laborer was about 3 T.shgs p/day.

My first reaction was to turn down the gift. She certainly needed it more than I did. After she had gone out of the hut the leading evangelist told me that I had done right by accepting the gift. She was expressing gratitude and would have been offended if I had refused to accept what she was offering.

How much more the gift God has offered through what His Son provided by His death and resurrection. God’s gift to us is because He “…so loved the world…” that by His mercy “…He gave…His Son…” so that “…whosoever believes in Him…” and receives that gift has “…everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

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