Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Power of Half

Have you heard of the family who gave away half? Kevin Salwen, a writer and entrepreneur in Atlanta, was driving with his 14 year old daughter. They pulled up between a Mercedes and a person begging for food, and she commented to her father that if the person who owned the car would have settled with a little less car, the homeless person might have a meal.....

Back home, her mother charged her with the ridiculous question, 'what do you want to do, sell our home?' And they did. And they gave away half the money, downsizing to a perfectly fine house with the other half. And now they do weird things like play board games and talk and eat dinner together because they're in that smaller house 'stuck together'. They said they traded 'stuff' for togetherness and connectedness. Mr. Salwen said, 'I can't figure out why everybody wouldn't want that deal.'

The first time I read about this, a week or so ago, it didn't go anywhere beyond that. Then I saw it again, in this morning's paper. When God puts something in front of my face over and over, so that I can't ignore it, our pastor calls it 'God's echos'. He said we tend to make figuring out 'God's will' for our lives complicated; sometimes all we need to do is listen for repeats or echos.

This newspaper article not only shared the story of the house that was sold, it went on to say that the family who bought the larger house pledged $100,000 to charity. Which charity isn't the point; there are plenty of good ones if you look with an eye even half open. This second article challenged US, ME, whoever was reading, by saying this:

'Everyone has too much of something, whether it's time or talent or treasure. Everyone does have their own half, you just have to find it.' So that put me to thinking, what do I have too much of?

After telling Don the story of the Salwens, he agreed and we're going to give away half of our grocery money for the month of February. We need to eat from what's in the freezer and on the shelves because we're moving 1200 miles south soon, and like many Americans we have plenty in the pantry if we're just a little bit creative. Our 'half' will be the grocery money we won't be using; it'll be given to our local food pantry, and I'd probably be ashamed to know how many people it will feed, rather than just the two of us.


1 in 50 children in America are homeless. Read this article if your heart needs a little more nudging to do something. I could be wrong but I'm betting homeless means often going to bed hungry. I can't imagine any of my grandkids going to bed hungry. Giving away half our grocery money won't affect our grandkids, they'll all go to bed full anyway (unless they act up at the dinner table) but it could send someone else's grandchild to bed with a full tummy, rather than an empty one.

Thinking about this 'half' stuff, I could give away half my pajama pants, or sweaters, or shoes. Or half my time for even one day a week volunteering somewhere. I could give away half my money spent on drive through coffee for a month, or movie rental money, or half of my bathroom towels. The list really is endless. If I got really radical, maybe I could give up half my complaining for a day - even that would make our world a better place.

What's your 'half'?

15 comments:

Becky said...

This is one of the best things I've read in ages. I am going to link to it today. Thanks, Bev. It really is SO good.

Kelly said...

I read about this awhile ago, and felt nudged, but tucked it away, realizing we weren't going to be moving again any time soon, no matter how philanthropic I wanted to be. You can't really convince your family to move when you are still unpacking, realistically speaking, and I couldn't pinpoint an exact way to translate this into my life.

You have summed up beautifully how it can be a part of everyone's lifestyle- I absolutely love the idea of sharing half of our clothing, or books, or money budgeted for so many things.
I absolutely love this post Bev, so inspiring. I never cease to be encouraged by you, because you are such a do-er, whereas I often get caught up in ideas and don't act on them. I can't wait to share this idea with my girls and see where we can find halves to share, too.

Susan said...

Came over from Becky's. Glad I did. It truly is the Jesus way isn't it?!!!!

Deidre said...

Eric and I always 'to know God's will, look/listen for his echo'. This post is an 'echo' for me Bev. When I first read 'The Hole in Our Gospel' in June last year, I recognized it as an echo, but ignored it. It's time ... it's past time to act. Thanks for the reminder.

unfinishedwork said...

You would enjoy Sacred Echo by Margaret Feinberg, I think. You gotta pay attention to those nudges or eventually we become immune to them.

So you're finally heading south - good for you; i know you've wanted this for a while! I finally exited cubicle-land a few months ago and it's great!

Linda said...

My husband has radically changed my life with his generous heart. It took a bit of nudging for this selfish heart to be willing to give as lavishly as he does, but the most amazing thing happened when I did. Like the Grinch, my heart grew - nourished by the blessing that comes from an open-handed Father who will never be "out-given".
I still sometimes have to be nudged along, but what you have written and done is so right Bev. We have so much - so much more than we need. And it truly is more blessed to give.

leslie said...

This is great! I'm proud, and so, so blessed, to have such a wonderful woman as my Mom. Love you!

Karen said...

What a thought-provoking post. The subject of purging, cleaning out, simplifying, etc has been on my mind for a while now. This goes right along with it. Thanks so much for sharing it! Love and blessings, Karen

Iccle Anne said...

Very inspiring!! Sorry but I've been a bit of a silent reader for a while through Google reader - I found your site through someone elses blog...but forgotten whose. Hello from the UK.

Glenda said...

Oh, my! What a thought-provoking post! I, too, have learned that the echoes are God's way of speaking to me. And I don't want to ever become immune to them.

If each of us who have would share as you say with the have-nots, what a different world it would be. I am a big believer in giving through my church and in volunteering, but I want God to show me other ways that I can give. You've certainly helped Him with your suggestions!

Renna said...

Bev, what a great post, one which flipped on a switch in me. There's no going back to before I read this. I feel I'm now accountable to come up with my own 'half'. Coming up with something I have in excess shouldn't be too hard....forcing myself to give it up will be the challenging part.

I love the God's echo thing!

Fonda said...

Beautiful, thought provoking post...again. Thanks for sharing, Bev.

Becky said...

Awesome!!! Thanks for sharing! : )

Gretchen said...

You're amazing. Thank you for your obedience and for your example. Love you, friend. And BTW, if you haven't read "Same Kind of Different As Me", by Hall and Moore, you really must. You would lurve it.

http://shhireading.blogspot.com/2010/01/book-5-same-kind-of-different-as-me.html

Becca said...

I love this so so much! Thanks for sharing! My husband and I are trying to live on less so we can give more - and it makes it so much easier having real contact with people in our city who are in need. . .