Giving truly is a way of life. My father-in-law and my Dad are two men I could write about so often. The picture here is a picture of George from “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and it always reminds me of George’s decision to give away their honeymoon (money and time) to benefit their friends, help them keep their private property and dignity. George’s dad and my dads are all examples of giving and the joy that comes from a life lived in giving. George followed his Dad’s lead. I hope to follow my Dads’ examples too.
Today I spent most of the day learning from a wonderful man named David about giving, giving of self, caring more about people than they care about themselves at times. What does it look like to truly care? Giving. Giving of self for the good of others and the glory of God. That’s true living. Proverbs 21:21 talks about this. If we pursue righteousness and kindness we gain life! True living is giving.
I’m broken as I think about what this really means. It means that at every turn I’m to give of myself, bend to help others straighten, bear weight to give others lightness and refreshment. Truly, what does it look like to walk the extra mile, truly understand the sorrows of a friend or acquaintance, get down in the weaknesses and sinful world around us, getting off of our prideful positions of accomplishment and attainment and getting down into the sorrows and hardships of those we live around? What does this look like in your life?
In my life, it’s looking like truly interacting with my clients and neighbors, friends and family members in a more and more authentic, face-to-face, less technology, more genuine and heart-felt questions about them kind of way. For me it means I take the extra ten minutes when the answer to my question of how someone is doing is, “Not well…” Spoke most often with their eyes and not their words. How about answering someone’s question of how we are doing with, “Honestly, could you briefly pray for me? I’m really tired or I’m really grieving or I’m really aware of my inadequacies.”
When we give to each other our time and kindness, we find that we are fuller, more full of joy, more full of hope for the day. We don’t necessarily feel as light-hearted. Believe me. We actually feel much like a pastor feels at the end of a day of counseling. We are wiped out and heavy in our hearts, especially some nights. We take on the sorrows and the weight of what each other are going through. We are sad over each other’s sin and concerned by what we hear about each other’s mistakes or short-comings. Yet, as we bear one another’s burdens and give each other ourselves, we come to find out that this is the stuff of real Christian love! And, we are much more likely to experience genuine care when we struggle or fall.
When we give, we gain closer friends too. When we fall along the way, those friends are more likely to come to us and reach out for us along the way. The more I’ve sought to serve and lay down my life, the more joy I’ve had at the end of the day. The more I seek to listen to my wife or be attentive to my little son’s needs or text friends for their prayer requests or stop by their homes to see how they are doing… the more full my heart is. I’m more and more aware of being God’s tool to minister grace and mercy to my family members in Christ. The more I also open my eyes to His kindness in my life, the more I’m aware of others’ availability to care for me and lift me up as tools in God’s hands to care for me, husband me, break down my pride and open me up for the seeds and watering and sun light of God’s grace for change in my life.
So grateful for God’s wisdom and wonderful grace in our lives.