COLUMN: Living a generous life in the name of Christ

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By Jon Rohr

A few weeks ago a series of devastating tornadoes hit communities in Kentucky and Indiana.  In just a few seconds, life changed dramatically for the families who live in those areas.  Homes and schools gone, lives turned upside down, in some cases lives lost.  My family survived a tornado several years ago and I know the physical and emotional toll it can take.
Over the past few years my church has had the opportunity to work with churches in West Liberty, Ky., a town that was almost wiped off the map.  Because we had those connections, we decided to invest in supporting those families and helping them in rebuilding.  Then I learned that others in our community have West Liberty connections and so we worked together to collect and deliver needed supplies.
Last week I had the opportunity to travel to West Liberty delivering some of those supplies.  A once thriving community is in pieces, the downtown area destroyed, homes and businesses just gone.
I am so thankful to be part of a church and a community that is so generous.  God’s Word says, “A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor.” (Proverbs 22:9 NIV)  I believe our community; our Churches will be blessed because they saw the needs of a hurting town and stepped in with a helping hand.
We should all be thankful that our neighbors and friends are people with caring hearts and open hands.  That kind of generosity shows the character of our community.  We hear people talk about “Hometown Values,” well I think we’ve just seen a great example.
The supplies we sent will help meet immediate needs, but West Liberty will be years in recovering.  Over the next weeks, months, and even years, those people will be rebuilding their town and their lives.
So when you can, say a prayer for those folks who are struggling to put their lives back together.  Next week another disaster may capture the attention of the newspapers and TV stations, but in West Liberty they will still be rebuilding.  In Henryville, Indiana they will still be recovering.  The disasters that pass so quickly off the front pages leave scars on the landscape and on hearts that do not so easily fade away.  Let’s keep them in our hearts and in our prayers!