Neighbours talked about it. Journalists wrote stories about it. Coffee shops were a-buzz with the extraordinary news. And it spread across Canada and eventually around the world by major media outlets.
It was a heart-touching story of outstanding generosity and selflessness.
Allen and Violet Large had been married for 36 years. They worked hard. Allen was a welder and Violet worked as a store clerk. They saved their meagre earnings for retirement years, in Truro, Nova Scotia.
One little dubious pleasure they enjoyed was a weekly lottery ticket.
Well into their retirement years, there was an unlikely convergence of circumstances. The bad news: Violet had cancer and was undergoing chemotherapy. The good news: They struck the jackpot and instantly they became $11.2million dollars richer than they ever expected to be or even wanted to be and, definitely never planned to be.
They hadn’t planned on the phone calls; but the phone really did start ringing. People from out of the blue were asking for money. They worried that ‘crooked’ people might take advantage of them.
The instantly wealthy elderly couple said the money was a headache and it could not buy them health or happiness. With money they really didn’t want, they made a long list of causes and groups to which they could disperse their millions. Yes, they looked after their family first as you would expect. And then local fire departments started receiving cheques and churches, cemeteries, the Red Cross, Salvation Army, hospitals and organizations that fight cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, etc. The list was much longer than that.
While most of us think that giving ten percent to charities is generous – the old concept of tithing, the Larges gave 98% away and set aside 2% for themselves – in case there was a rainy day. Actually, they were in the middle of a rainy-day-season. Violet was battling cancer.
“We haven’t spent one cent on ourselves because we’ve been too busy getting everything looked after and with my health – I have to wait to get my health back to get the energy to do anything. We’re not travelers anyway. We live in the county and we’re proud of it. Money can’t buy you health or happiness.” (1)
One year after their big win and generous give-away, Violet passed away at the age of 79.
As generous and kind as Allen and Violet Large were, their story and all other stories of kindness, philanthropy and altruism are eclipsed by an even more amazing story of incredible generosity.
The elderly couple showed their kindness and generosity towards those who were deserving of it. But what about showing kindness and philanthropic love and generosity to those who never deserved a drop of it? That’s the meta narrative of the Bible. That’s the big story of the Holy Bible. Don’t miss the major story line of the Bible when you read it.
Think about what these Bible verses are saying to people who had recently become Christians:
For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. (4) But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love (philanthropy) for mankind appeared, (5) He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, (6) whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, (7) so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:3-7 Holy Bible
When Christ stepped into time and humanity by being born via a virgin in Bethlehem – it was God’s display of love and generosity to the world. In the original Greek language, the word for ‘love’ in verse 4 above, is where we get the common modern-day word philanthropy.
The Large’s gave their millions and Bill and Melinda Gates give their billions to very worthy and good causes – as outstanding philanthropists. But God, so lovingly and generously, gave His Son Jesus to become our Saviour. By His death for our disobedient and dark sins on the Cross, we can be totally forgiven and fully accepted by God.
Love, mercy and grace. Were we deserving of any of it? Not one bit of it. Totally unworthy causes. But because of the value God places upon you and me – He generously gave. We know of no organizations or causes that turned down the kindness of the Larges in Truro, Nova Scotia – but sadly, so many turn their backs on God’s philanthropy and kindness.
What about you? Click here to discuss this further.