Bowen Miller

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been working with Pam Williams on the Backpack Appeal for winter, where we have been collecting backpacks for those who are homeless. Pam has been working hard behind the scenes to make the backpack appeal happen. To date, we have gathered more than 40 backpacks! Some have come from the Robina Facebook community page, and the rest from our church. These backpacks will be distributed to both St. Johns Crisis Care and Burleigh Heads Anglican Church, who both assist the homeless. Initially, we weren’t sure if we would collect enough for St. Johns as well, but due to people’s generosity, we have more than enough.

It really makes me happy to see the community coming together to help those who are struggling at the moment. I believe it’s a sign of a healthy Christian community, that is, one that has an outward focus – for the benefit of others. In the current economic climate, it can sometimes feel like a real stretch to help others, to even know what to do, or feel that it is more than a drop in the ocean. But as it says in Isaiah 55:8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” It is helpful for me to remember this, as sometimes the problems I’m seeing are so huge that it feels hopeless. And as Galatians 6:9 reminds us, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” And together we are more than a drop in the ocean and the drive and excitement I get from seeing us working together allows us to not give up and a harvest for those doing it tough is enabled.  

Sometimes I find the idea of generosity complex because I think that generosity requires something of us. I think it requires a sacrifice, big or small but the sacrifice is one that has a return, which isn’t selfish. I’m reminded of the quote from an ancient Chinese philosopher Loa Tzu, that is summarized as, “As we give we get, as we grasp we lose.” There is a concept called the paradox of generosity, a topic that has been extensively explored in papers, books, and more. This includes the physiological benefits of generosity and how it positively affects people’s mental health. On a community level I have seen this happening, as we have done this project together. I have seen a truly healthy and vibrant community coming together to help those in need and people really enjoying it.

So, take heart and find joy in the fact that together we can do meaningful and great things. And not only that, that as we grasp we lose but as we give we get.

One quick addition, we received a great story from Helen at Burleigh Heads Anglican Church, she said, “One man, whose birthday is coming up soon, was so moved by the fact that others would put these packs together for him and other homeless people. The items that the packs contain are incredible and so practical. They are like the best birthday present – WELL DONE and THANK YOU!