In the previous writing regarding our “Trust Account,” we discussed that all I possess today has come to me either as a direct gift from God, or has come to me as a by-product of a “gift exchange,” whereby I took something that had been given to me in the first place and simply traded it for something that I desired even more. Now, I have a fiduciary responsibility, as a “Trustee,” to manage my portfolio of possessions in such a way as to make other people around me “better off” instead of selfishly spending all those possessions on myself.
We have been given our inheritance for a reason. The owner and grantor of everything has deposited into our Trust Account not only sufficiency for meeting our own needs, but possessions that are expressly for the benefit to others. We have the privilege to respond as “Trustworthy Administrators” and function as an integral part of a plan for meeting the needs of others around us.
The economic and cultural soul of Romania had been ripped out and trampled by the greedy dictator, Nicolay Ceausescu, and his despicable wife. In 1989, the people of Romania rose up, kidnapped the pair with a helicopter, gave them an informal trial in a farm house and killed them on the spot. But the country was in shambles. Project C.U.R.E. was called in to assess the medical delivery system and to give help.
Anna Marie accompanied me on one of my trips to Romania in 2002. We flew into Timisoara and drove along the Hungary-Romania border to the city of Oradea to perform our studies. On Sunday we were taken to the peasant village of Cefa where we joined village worshipers at a small frame church. The building included a wood-burning stove in the middle of the congregation, but the real heat came from the worshipers robustly singing from their Romanian books of worship. Average income of the peasant farmers was about $50 US per month.
After the service, we were introduced to a middle-aged couple and informed that we were going to their house to eat Sunday dinner. They rode their bicycles ahead of us to their village farm about a half-mile from the little church. As we opened the gate the farmyard animals scattered. Above, was an ominous November sky and a cold, misty rain was falling, which made the farmyard a bit messy for walking.
As we entered the house we were taken directly into the kitchen, which was the largest room in the house and appeared to be the only room with heat. The wife’s name was Marianna and she had already set the long table with plates and utensils. Even though none of the pieces matched, yet the arrangement placed on one of her homemade tablecloths made an attractive setting.
Marianna had been working on her Sunday dinner for a couple of days. She had special bread baking in her wood-burning oven and a salad of peas, diced carrots, corn and boiled eggs on her rustic cupboard. Pans of chicken and roast pork simmered alongside her potatoes. I watched the peasant farm wife as she flitted through her kitchen. Her feet hardly hit the floor. She had chosen to wear her roadside-market-bought dress for the occasion. It was dark blue with a floral print and had a velvet-type material around the collar. Even though it was a size or two too big, yet the color complimented her dark brown eyes and black hair. But the real compliment to her appearance was the compelling radiance that enshrouded her entire being. She had tapped a gusher of happiness. She was entertaining foreign guests in her own kitchen. She was fully prepared and was enjoying every minute of it.
About 15 minutes into our meal, four other people showed up at the door, including a Gypsy preacher and his wife. They were all expecting to eat. The little farm wife never missed a beat or seemed the least bit frustrated. She went into another room and brought to the kitchen another small table and four chairs. From somewhere she found additional mix-and-match plates and graciously seated her unexpected guests and began serving them as well.
As we ate, I continued to be intrigued by the peasant farm wife. She was so happy in what she was doing. She was not allowing her obvious poverty to trump her spirit of creativity and generosity. Royalty lived within the rustic walls of that Cefa farmhouse. I would never forget the look of contentment in the eyes of the peasant woman.
As we were leaving, the peasant woman was filling up plastic sacks with fresh vegetables, pickled cucumbers, squash and cheese for our friends to take home with them. As we were walking to our car, she made a mad dash to the barn and collected some fresh eggs. From somewhere that peasant couple, living along the border of Hungary and Romania without enough money to even fix their old Russian-made Dacia car, had found the true joy of living through the experience of giving.
Happiness resides not in possessions hoarded for our own consumption, and not in tarnished gold hidden away in the secret recesses of our souls, but, rather, in the assurance that we are uncomplicated folks, grateful for what we have and graceful enough to share with others when we have the opportunity to help.