Trusting in God's abundance radically enough to share beyond what we can imagine
"The Practice of Extravagant Generosity"
By Audrey Kammerud
To me, extravagant generosity means doing/giving without counting the cost. The members of this church are very good about giving without counting the cost. The volunteering that is done that takes our time and our energy is done with extravagant generosity. A wonderful example of extravagant giving is the amount pledged for the REACH Campaign. I am sure that many of us made our pledges knowing that there will be sacrifices that will have to be made, but we pledged knowing in our hearts that it had to be done. An extravagant generosity on our part.
I have a story to tell that I feel illustrates this practice better than anything I could say.Shay was a six year old boy that could not learn as other children or understand as other children do. He had to attend a special school. One day he and his father were out for a while when they passed a park where kids he knew were playing ball. Shay asked his father if the thought the boys would let them play. The father knew the boys would not let him play, but he went and asked them anyway. Since the team was losing by six runs and it was the eighth inning, Shay’s team got in several runs but were still behind. At the top of the ninth, the team put Shay in the outfield. No hits came his way but Shay was smiling from ear to ear. He was playing ball!
In the bottom of the ninth Shay’s team scored again. Now there were two outs and the bases were loaded with the winning run on base. However, it was Shay’s turn to bat and everyone knew that a hit was next to impossible as Shay did not even know how to hold the bat. Would the team let Shay bat knowing that a loss was inevitable? Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. He walked up to the base. The pitcher sensing the situation moved a little closer. The pitcher threw the first ball, a soft lob, so Say could hit it, but he missed. The pitcher moved closer and threw another lob. Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground to the pitcher. The picture could have thrown the ball to the first basemen for an easy out, but instead he threw it in a high arc to right field. Everyone started to yell, “Run, Shay, run.” And Shay did. Never in his life had Shay made it to first base. The crowd kept yelling for him to run to second base. Now the outfielder could easily have thrown it to second for the out. However knowing what the pitcher’s intentions had been he threw away over the head of the third baseman. By this time the crowd was on its feet yelling at Shay. When Shay got to second base the shortstop had to turn him in the direction of third base and told him to run to third. By this time everyone including the opposing team were on their feet yelling at Shay to run home. Shay ran home and was cheered as the hero for hitting a “grand slam” and winning the game for his team. He was the hero of the day.
That day was the happiest day of Shay’s life as you see Shay never had the chance to play again. He died that winter with a smile on his face.
Extravagant generosity, oh yes! Not counting the cost—never! The boys will remember what they did that day on the field. Win or lose will not matter. The cost did not matter.
May this Church continue to run to home plate with extravagant generosity.