It was the generosity of people who had almost nothing which taught Katie Wallis the true meaning of giving.
Last year I spent a few months living in a boarding hostel for high-school girls in India. I sang with them, played with them, studied with them, and occasionally found myself brave enough to eat spicy Indian curries with them. I slept on a mattress so lumpy it seemed like it was made of loose rocks and mosquito nests. I showered with cold, brownish water from a giant bucket in a cubicle with a door that hung loosely off one old rusty hinge.
One night an old scholar from the school invited me to dinner. I travelled by car to her family home in a Chennai slum and was treated to one of the most memorable nights of my life. Her home was a single room—about two metres by three metres—with a tiny adjoining room for bathing. She lived with her two parents and her brother and sister. One single-sized bed sat along the wall. A few of the family would sleep there while the rest curled up on the bare concrete floor—they were the poorest of the poor. A small table was put in front of the bed, and it was there I was seated for dinner. The whole family stood around smiling with anticipation as the mother of the house began to serve me my evening meal. Nobody else ate.
I was having trouble eating correctly with my hands and the mother asked if she could feed me with her own hands so I could comfortably enjoy my meal. Humbling.
After I was stuffed to the point of bursting, the father of the house collected a bowl of water and took my filthy, curry-covered hands in his own. He bathed them in water and rubbed them clean. Humbling.
The servant-hearted Christ met with me in that Chennai slum in the form of my Indian family, and I’ve never experienced a more beautiful display of generosity. I have learned that it is no longer good enough for me to give from my abundance. The beauty of experiencing true generosity—giving from nothing—has changed my life forever.