Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Blessed to Give

We're reading chapter 5 in It's No Secret this week and talking about giving. Is giving something that comes hard or easy for you? It doesn't come natural to me, but I do recall a few early times I wanted to give...

A strong early memory I have of wanting to give someone a gift dates back to elementary school. I wanted to give my dad a Father’s Day present – an actual gift, not just a picture I’d colored for him. Only I had no way to go buy a present. So I rooted around in the back of his closet and found an old, probably out-of-style tie that I had never seen him wear. I wrapped it up and presented it to him. Dad played along, pretending he didn’t recognize it. He smiled, hugged and thanked me.

I beamed over his apparent pleasure as I got my first taste that it is more blessed to give than receive. Up until that early point in my life, I'd only really received.

I also recall the first time I gave to a stranger. With my newly minted driver’s license in my jeans pocket, I headed to the mall with a friend. At a stop light I noticed a man outside with a sign that read: “Will work for food.” I’d never seen anything like this.

I continued on to the mall but couldn’t get him out of my mind. As I turned my two-seater around, my friend questioned, “Where are you going?” “To buy that guy back there some food,” I said. I certainly had no work to offer him.

We went through the Hardees’ drive-thru and I used the paycheck from my part-time job to buy a value meal. I couldn’t fully read it, but I’ll never forget the look on his face when I pulled up to the intersection, held out the bag and said, “Here you go.” He paused for a few seconds, with that look, then accepted it and kindly said, “Thank you very much.”

Years later I realize this could well have been a scam. Some who beg are not destitute or honest. Some don’t intend to work for food at all. At the time though, that never occurred to me. And something good was cemented in my heart that day as I experienced what it felt like to help a stranger in need. So I care not if he was for real, because I learned a very real lesson about blessing others from him.

I learned the act of giving blesses me as well.

Can I challenge you to keep your eyes out this week for someone you can give to?


  1. There are times when I would like to have the bountiful funds from a lottery win to give to friends that are struggling financially. Cars that keep breaking down, houses that keep revealing problems after problems. But that has not yet happened.

    Financial funds are a blessing but sometimes a hand reaching out with compassion or an ear to listen can mean just as much.

    I am learning to listen to the nudges from God on my heart. Maybe by buying lunch for a friend or an email just letting someone know they are not alone in their struggles.

    It IS so much more a blessing to give than receive!

  2. I'd like to say that I am a giver, generous with myself. But the closer I look at myself, the more I realize there's more in there to share. I may be good at listening, giving encouragement and support to others, but I often use the excuse that we are strapped ourselves as a family and don't have the means to share with others. I will specifically look for an opportunity this week to give, and I won't limit it to a financial gift, but rather a specific opportunity to offer myself to another with no expectations. This is challenging... very challenging chapter. All of them have been! I am excited to read the next!

  3. I need to buy this book....next one on my list. (I just got We Speak today) Your Father's gift reminded me of one I gave my Mom. I couldn't buy her anything so I took an empty metal Band-Aide box, covered it with (too much!) pink tissue paper and wrote the word Mother on it. She seemed pleased. It blessed me years later to see it in her dresser drawer! (don't remember the reason I was in it... but anyway, it was all good!)

    We may be too busy when we fail to hear God's whispers to bless others with gifts....both large and small.

  4. Dear Rachel,

    The section in your book where you described your Aunt Susie had me in tears yesterday(I would have bawled my eyes out if I hadn't been in a room of potential jury members waiting for their names to be called!). She wasn't thinking about herself. I wish I had more of that selfless love. I feel like my giving is so limited. If I really wanted to give with abandon, I could. I just need to stop pandering to my "wants." It's all about me! I can just imagine what Mother Teresa would say about all the things that I say I "need" and all of the things that I waste my money on because the "me" in me wants it...right now.

    Oh yes, there's work to be done with "me."

    Thank you for holding up a mirror for all of us to look into and see ourselves with a little better perspective.

  5. I am guilty of giving til it hurts except when it doesn't benefit me. How bad is that? God is showing me, there's a lot in my life I really need to change and rely on him for. Cuz as the last few weeks have proven ( and I'll post it on my blog) things are working for me.

    Thank you Rachel for this book and study.


Chime in.