My grandchildren were coming to visit in a few weeks. I spent two hours choosing some new things for them to play with while they were here.

Some friends in New York were doing a creative outreach for women in that amazing city. I gave a little to help to make it happen. 

Our Compassion daughter in Haiti had a birthday recently. Of course, I sent a gift.

The homeless man in the wheelchair needed someone to talk to, more than the bit of money I gave him. I entered into his loneliness for 20 minutes.

A sweet girl I love loves horses (I get that!). A friend of mine does a fun horse camp each summer. I treated her to a week with horses.

I could go on. I’m rather addicted to giving. It is one of the greatest joys of my life.

From time to time my husband has reminded me that we do not have unlimited resources. But I reminded him that God does. And surely this passion to give is a gift from God.

I had a great model: my mother. She was one of the most generous people I know. I’m sure she sacrificed her own needs many times, in order to give to me and my sisters. – And to all her grandchildren.

Our God has encouraged, exhorted, commanded us to give—generously, cheerfully, sacrificially (2 Corinthians 9:7, 11; 1 Timothy 6:8; Mark 12:42-43). I love to give generously and cheerfully, though I don’t think I have ever truly given sacrificially.

But surely I have been blessed by the Spirit with a gift of giving. I am grateful. 

A Lifestyle Commitment

In reality, though, we are not wealthy by our culture’s standards. Actually, that is intentional. My husband and I each committed our lives to God—all we are and have and will be, belongs to him. And when we married, in our first planning time together, we made this a goal: to not pursue wealth.

God has been kind to give me resources occasionally to give financially. But he also reminds me often that there are many other ways to give: I love to give meaningful gifts—something that says “I know you and this is just right for you.”

Words of encouragement and blessing come easily to me—I love to share them. 

Many years of life somewhat qualifies me to give wise advice, which I am usually very glad to do. Hopefully when it is requested.

Time is more valuable than money, and I have many opportunities to give myself in real time. Sometimes this is challenging for me—I say too easily, “That’s not in the schedule.” 

A great gift is to listen. My ministry responsibilities involve a lot of speaking, and then many moments to sit and listen. 

For many people a hug is a welcome gift. As are tears. That is frequently the kindest thing I can do—weep with someone who weeps.

And I can pray.  What an amazing gift—to bring a person to the throne of God, asking him to touch their lives, meet their needs, comfort them, cover them with his grace. My response? That’s easy. Just as we say “Thank you” for gifts given to us, so my heart is filled with gratitude that God has asked me to give.

What about you?  When do you find joy in giving?

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