Daily Spirit & Word 562:
Being Open-Handed and Open-Hearted.
A few years ago (Sept 2011) Julie (my wife) and I enjoyed a lovely late Summer holiday at Sunnybeach in Bulgaria. Barcelo Royal Beach Hotel. It was a wonderful 5 Star Hotel. The security was obvious and the staff so welcoming and ready and willing to serve. We were greeted with warmth every time we needed service. The Hotel was truly awesome, the best I’ve ever been in and our room was so clean with an amazing view over the swimming pools and out to the beach and sea.
On a few days we took some trips, one was to the Blue Mountains to visit real historical Bulgaria. On the way we stopped at a few places of interest, but what struck me was the level of deprivation, it was noticable almost immediately we left the Sunnybeach resort. However, the roads in Bulgaria were much better than the roads in London. Bulgarian roads didn’t have any pot-holes, speed-bumps or other hazards to avoid.
In our air-conditioned coach zooming through the countryside, we noticed people with donkey and cart, it was like being transported back in time, but that was life in Bulgaria today. I began to feel sorry for the people of Bulgaria and wondered how they could be so charming, welcoming and friendly towards outsiders like us.
The ancient villages we visited were amazing, but the lingering thought was, how privileged we are in the UK and how we moan about our conditions so much, we just don’t realise how rich we’ve become.
In the mornings I’d arise early to meet with the Lord on the Balcony, sitting at our table with a warm mug of coffee, watching the sun rise with Bible in hand, as I read God’s Word: I looked up “The Poor” and “The Needy” on my iPad software.
Proverbs 19:17 17 He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.
Proverbs 19:17 17 He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done.
Although I’m always; friendly, generous, welcoming and keen to chat with people of all walks of life, I determined that whilst on holiday, I’d make a special effort to talk with as many of the staff and locals as we could. It wasn’t easy, because we didn’t speak Bulgarian, but most of them had learned English. I left tips every time I was served and greeted the waiters by name. Julie and I made friends with a young woman who came to do morning exercises in the pool and run a little competition. Julie won a huge drink one day and we all laughed together. We had a photo taken, before selfies became the norm, we’d done it 🙂 LOL.
The POOR & The NEEDY:
Deuteronomy 15:11 11 There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be open-handed towards your brothers and towards the poor and needy in your land.
It’s not just open-handed, but open-hearted and open-life with everyone. Not just with the poor, but being generous with everyone, with our time as well. Some of the people who needed our help most on that holiday were people who had everything in life, like us, and they were struggling with simple relational things. We prayed with a few people on that holiday who opened their hearts to us.
Revelation 3:17 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realise that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.
We observed some people in the swimming pool area, who’d obviously had far too much to drink, shouting and being rude to the bar-staff. They responded with polite and assured grace. I approached the bar soon afterwards for a refreshing drink and they served me with the usual friendliness. I spoke with the man and thanked him and assured that the LORD would reward him for his amazing patience and kindness in the face of such rudeness. He smiled!
Proverbs 14:31 31 He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honours God.
It doesn’t cost anything to be friendly, to show respect towards all people, but it’s rewards are beyond measure. When Julie and I left, we gathered all our Bulgarian money we had left-over and gave it to the Staff members who’d made our stay so enjoyable and relaxing, they’d become quite good friends. One of them cried when we left, that was so moving. You can make friends with people very quickly in life.
Remember the Lord’s kindnesses towards you and you’ll be so full of gratitude that you’ll want to be kind and generous and open-handed and open-hearted towards everyone.
Hope you have an awesome holiday, but don’t take a holiday from the Lord: He’s with you even in foreign lands. We’re not going away this year, but we’re looking forward to having some time with family and friends.
Be blessed and enjoy your Summer Walk with Jesus.
I took the pictures for today’s post whilst on our travels on holiday in Bulgaria, the Hotel and the ancient village in the Blue Mountains in Bulgaria.