Tag Archive | generosity

If Someone Offers A Gift—Take It

This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. We write for just 5 minutes without heavy editing and see what happens. Today’s prompt is “Take.”

I’ve lived the better part of my adult life as a missionary supported prayerfully and financially by the gifts of others. If people don’t give, we get no paycheck. So I have learned over these 30+ years that if someone offers something, I take it graciously and just say thank you.

God has always met our needs and we have abundantly more than we need, so I know the power of receiving a gift, not only because it meets a need for us, but also because of the joy it can bring to the giver.

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We have living room furniture because friends didn’t need it anymore. We have a kitchen table and chairs because friends wanted proceeds from the sale of ours at a yard sale to go to our son’s missions trip (I know, it’s kind of a complicated story). We received tons of baby stuff when our grandson was born because of the generosity of a group of young moms who just wanted to be able to pay it forward.

We can give generously as well because we have received so much. If we refuse to receive, we dishonor the giver. Yes, it’s humbling to admit the need, but it’s good and it’s necessary. We don’t go through this life alone, and we shouldn’t pretend like we don’t need the generosity of others.

“God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God” (1 Corinthians 1:28-29).

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Make Me An Offer

This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. We write for just 5 minutes on a one-word prompt and see what happens. Today’s prompt is “offer,” and this post is completely stream-of-consciousness, without form, and unedited. My thoughts were pretty jumbled so feel free to let me know what you think.

In order for an offer to be worth something, the person being offered it has to accept it.

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Someone can make an offer on a house that’s for sale, but the owner’s have to accept the offer.

When Cain and Abel made their offerings to the Lord, Cain’s was accepted, but Abel’s wasn’t. I have always wondered about that. Someone has probably preached a sermon on that over the years, but I haven’t kept it in my memory long enough.

I can offer to help someone with something, but they have to accept that offer, or it goes to waste. You know that saying, “It’s the thought that counts”? Well, I’m not sure I’m convinced of that. I think that the offer has to be appropriate, sincere and accepted in order for it to mean something to the other person.

I also think offers made in such a way should be seriously considered before they’re just turned away.

My husband likes to say, “I come from a long line of people who don’t want to be an inconvenience.”

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That’s something we want to work with our kids on. You don’t need to, nor should you or can you, do everything on your own. Ask for help and then accept it. There are members of my family who will turn down offers all the time, even when they are in great need. Especially offers of financial help. Somehow they think that they must do whatever it is they need to do on their own. But I remind them of how easily they would offer their help if the shoe was on the other foot.

Don’t keep someone else from experiencing the blessing of giving just because you’re too proud to receive.

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When It Rains, It Pours

RainI live in Florida, so the saying “when it rains, it pours” makes a lot of sense. Seldom do we ever get just a gentle sprinkling for more than just a couple of minutes. Usually it becomes a gushing downpour that doesn’t usually last long. But in that time, it’s torrential.

In the heat of summer, those respites of rain are welcome, but the aftermath of flooding can cause major problems.

What’s necessary to avoid that is a good drainage system.

Kind of like with the showers of blessings in our lives.

If all we’re doing is letting the flood of good things come down on us without having any outlet, our lives will look like the swelled streams and overflowing banks. All that water really should go somewhere it can do some good.

When we are in our rainy season, and places like California are in a drought or experiencing devastating fires, we wish that we could take some of that rain and send it their way. But with weather, that’s not possible.

But it’s possible with the wealth of resources or time or emotion that we can give to someone in need.

Certainly let it rain on you, but then share the wealth with those around you.Rain3

Find yourself with time on your hands? Volunteer to help where it’s needed.

Get an unexpected bonus at work? Give a portion to a worthy cause.

Finding yourself overflowing with joy? Share that emotional energy with someone who could use a friend.

When it rains on you, pour out on others.

 

This post is a part of the Five-Minute Friday link up. Join the fun!

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No Perfect Parenting, part 2

Last week I mentioned a couple of articles on parenting that I had recently read. (See that post here). The author of the article on spoiling kids and I have agreed that everyone is entitled to their own decisions on how they parent. We also agreed that we can’t know everything about someone’s parenting style without knowing them personally and in depth so, with that in mind and with respect, here are some responses I have to some of the other things in her post:

I don’t think my kids learn to be generous because I give them things they haven’t earned, but because they see me giving to others who are in need. We support full-time missionaries as a family. We support friends who go on short-term mission trips. They’ve learned to set apart 10 percent of their allowance or work earnings every month and then choose a ministry they want to support with it. This summer, my boys are helping send a couple and a graduating high school senior from our church to Italy on a missions trip. They see me put dollars in the baseball helmet of the high-school team trying to raise money to purchase lights for their field. They see their father take a homeless man into a restaurant to buy him a meal. They see me buy gas for a woman who says her debit card was stolen and she needs to get to work.

Do I lavish affection on my kids? That was a lot easier to do when they were little. My teenage boys don’t really go for that so much anymore. But I hug them and tell them I love them often. Do I do things for them that they could do for themselves? Yes, on occasion. But I tell you what, my 11-year-old knows how to make her own bed, and her own meals, and do her own laundry.  If she needs clean clothes, she knows how to do it. But if I’m doing a load that needs more to be full, I’ll do hers with mine. And I help her fold stuff and put it away sometimes. None of my kids are going to leave my house without knowing how to keep something clean and keep themselves fed in a healthy manner (now, whether they pig out on Pop-Tarts once they’re on their own is a question for another day).

Do I make them the center of my universe? Absolutely not. They are an important, sweet, vital part of that universe. But Jesus is the center. And David comes next, no matter what. When they leave the nest, he’ll be the one staying here. And they know that. They complain every once in awhile that we always take each other’s side. Yep. Pretty much. But what they don’t know is that behind closed doors, we talk things out and occasionally win the other to another way of thinking. In our house, it’s usually about changing Dad’s mind about pets.

My kids are not allowed to speak unkindly to each other, they aren’t allowed to laugh if one of the others gets hurt. If they want something, they work for it. But that’s about stuff, that’s not about love. We don’t ever tell them they’re not good enough to get something. Yes, the harsh reality will come at them soon enough, but I’m certainly going to do my best to get them ready to face it while they’re still in the safety of my home. You break something that belongs to someone else? I still love you, but you’re paying to replace it. Or you receive grace from the owner, which I’ve seen happen more often than not. Not gonna happen in a store. You break it, you buy it. You didn’t win a game? You don’t get a trophy. I’ll tell you I love you and that I’m proud of your effort. But the winner gets the prize.

You want that new iPod? Better start looking for extra jobs to earn it. I’ll teach you how to do that, but I’m not doing it for you. The essentials I gladly provide as God gives us provision, but the extras are on you. God loves to lavish good things on His children, so ask Him to provide that which is the desire of your heart. Oftentimes, we find that our desires change as we seek to align them to God’s desires for us.

IMG_1112 - Version 2My bottom line is this: our children are very, very important. They are vulnerable, empty pots that will get filled with whatever comes along to fill them. Will it be Jesus or will it be the world? If I keep them filled up with the love and heart of Jesus, there won’t be room for anything else. I want to raise independent adults who know how to do things for themselves, and who rely on Jesus for every step they take.

How about you? In what ways do you help your kids be independent yet reliant on Jesus?

 

 

Clean Living

20120413-193628.jpgThis is my friend Carlton. He lives near where we’re working this week, so David and I visited him when we had some free time this afternoon. He turned 99 in February. He was married for 55 years until his wife died in 1994. He has followed Jesus for 35 years.

He worked as an accountant.
He never went to college.
He’s made a quilt.
He writes poetry.

He was diagnosed years ago with macular degeneration, but after praying with his pastor and others, Carlton experienced healing. He woke up one morning and said, “I can see! I can see!”

Carlton and his wife had three children. One son died at 14 days, another in his 40s from a brain tumor. He has a daughter and two granddaughters. He and his wife basically raised one of them.

Four years ago, that granddaughter asked Carlton to pay the interest on a loan, which was $250 a month. He couldn’t do it. It was too much for him financially. That granddaughter hasn’t talked to him since.

He says he forgave her. But she holds onto the grudge.

Carlton is a sweet, generous, humble servant of Jesus. This granddaughter has broken his heart.

Carlton prays for our family everyday. God has given him 99 years and a clear mind. Some might attribute his longevity to clean living: he would attribute it to a clean heart.

Thankful today for:
191. A short drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway
192. God’s Spirit moving around the world
193. My friend Carlton

Being a Blessing

Ann Voskamp’s book 1,000 Gifts is very popular these days. I haven’t read it, but from what I’ve gathered, the premise is that you can find blessings in every single day. There are multitude tiny ways God shows us He loves us.

King Solomon had that idea long before this book came out. Ecclesiastes 11:7 says: “Oh, how sweet the light of day, And how wonderful to live in the sunshine! Even if you live a long time, don’t take a single day for granted. Take delight in each light-filled hour” (The Message).

In that same chapter, Solomon says, “Be generous: Invest in acts of charity. Charity yields high returns. Don’t hoard your goods; spread them around. Be a blessing to others. This could be your last night” (Ecc. 11:1,2 The Message).

Enjoy what you have and share it with others. Live generously and you will find that God is generous with you. Sow thankfulness and you will reap a thankful heart that is a blessing to others. It’s a people magnet: others will be drawn to you because of your heart.

I’m getting a little bit of a late start, but each day I am going to list three things for which I’m thankful, so that at the end of the year, I have 1000. Maybe I’ll even read Ann’s book.

I’ll start big:
1. My salvation
2. My husband
3. The way all my children still like to hug me (my boys are 15 and 13–in 8 days–and my daughter is 9).

Feel free to join me.