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Friday, August 15, 2014

How Will You Choose To Be Generous Today?

How will you choose to be generous today?
In the wake of the death of superstar comedian Robin Williams has come a wave of stories regarding an aspect of his life that few knew anything about—how "crazily generous" he was. Williams had a deep appreciation for our armed forces, his colleagues, and for people in general, which he demonstrated through immense giving of material things and his time.

After actor Christopher Reeve was paralyzed in a fall from a horse on May 27, 1995, Williams arrived at his hospital room dressed as a doctor and announced that he was there to do a proctological exam.

"For the first time since the accident, I laughed," Reeve later wrote in his autobiography, Still Me.

Williams supported scholarships at The Juilliard School in New York City, actively raised money for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, and also supported the San Francisco Zoo, which named a monkey after him in June—which was, appropriately, a howler monkey. In California, where he lived, Williams was a friend of the Challenged Athletes Foundation and would cheer competitors on at the finish line of the San Diego Triathlon Challenge. He was expected this weekend at a race in Northern California.

"What I think a lot of people don't know, and you're starting to hear all these stories come out now, is how crazily generous he was," said late-night talk show host and comedian Conan O'Brien on his show earlier this week. "He was so generous."

"And not just in a material way, but with his time," added O'Brien's co-host Andy Richter. "He spent so much time entertaining the troops, which I didn't really know about which means he didn't really talk about it. He didn't do it for publicity."

Williams hung himself on Monday, August 11, at the age of 63 after a decades long battle with depression and substance abuse. His plethora of movies made millions laugh. His charitable work brought hope to countless others. Despite the horrific tragedy of his death, the legacy of generosity he left behind should touch us no less.

Robin Williams is probably the first actor to die who I was really familiar with. I mean, in just the last few years we've lost wonderful actors like Heath Ledger, James Gandolfini, Paul Walker, and Michael Clarke Duncan, but their stars had risen to fame fairly recently; I knew who they were, but they hadn't made the impact on my life that Williams did. Robin Williams has been a staple performer ever since I was a little kid. He—along with Bill Cosby—was probably the first comedian to ever make me laugh. His voice work in Aladdin and FernGully, his on-screen charism in Hook, Patch Adams, Mrs. Doubtfire, and Jumanji, all played a small part, I think, in the development of my own sense of humor and family values.

His passing makes me sad.

In looking at all the ways Robin Williams helped others, I find myself contemplating one question: how am I going to be generous? Generosity is not just about helping others. For Christians, especially, it's a necessity of obedience.

"In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" —Acts 20:35

How am I going to be obedient to the will of my Lord by helping others and caring for widows and orphans?

Though Dani and I do what we can with our time and resources, it's the dream of both of us to one day give much more once we're out of debt. We have a passion for adoption, and we deeply love our church, which are two things we'd love to give more to. Some day we want to have a home that can be the epicenter of the lives of our friends and family, a place for pastors and missionaries to come and rest and have fun, and a place to host friends who need some R&R.

What about you? In what ways do you dream of being generous once you're debt free?

1 comment:

  1. Yes! We are to be generous. But I would say, be generous despite being in debt. Be sure to always tithe. God always blesses those who give when He asks of them. We are not to be foolish with our money, but good stewards.