Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Until It Hurts

giving 2
I have been challenged, very challenged.  I always liked to think that I was a very caring, supportive, giving person.  I mean, giving is my love language, so I’m a pro at it!

Well, not really.  I’m a pro at it when it fits into my time schedule and into my way of doing things.
You want to know some real givers?

- a woman who is busy homeschooling and raising a young family, yet offers to help my grandparents (whom she doesn’t even know) as they are staying at a hospital close to her area.

- some men who have full-time jobs, yet give a day out of their schedule to help when a need arises.

- a young lady, just back from the mission field, who sends a gift card along with a sweet letter of encouragement.

- a phone call from a far-away friend to simply say hello.

- an invitation from a girl (who is working, trying to graduate from college, and facing a major decision about her future) so that someone feels welcome as she steps into her circle.

- people who drop everything so that they can visit a friend in the hospital.

- a woman with a baby who makes a dinner for a family going through a hard time.

These are the true givers; these are the people that I want to be more like.  No, they aren’t proudly displayed in the Hall of Fame or praised in long liturgies, but they will long be remembered by me and the other ones whose lives they have touched and impacted.  They didn’t give because it was easy and convenient, quite the opposite in fact. 

So, I have been challenged- challenged to get those cards out in the mail (yes, mail….not email or text…an actual card to hold in one’s hand); challenged to make that visit to the hospital (even though it isn’t my favorite place to be); challenged to take that day off from work and go clean and babysit for the mother who needs a helping hand; challenged to make a double portion for supper and send the extra to the family who is going through a hard time; challenged to take the time to sit down and talk with the lonely woman who has no one to care about her; challenged to send that gift card or bouquet; challenged to give until it hurts; challenged to pour myself out as a living sacrifice.  Jesus’ time here on earth wasn’t about making Himself cozy and comfy; He served until He was exhausted.  Gladys Aylward wasn’t at the coffee shop reading; she was giving of herself until she had literally given her last ounce of strength.

Giving isn’t about making ourselves look good- it’s about putting other people ahead of ourselves.  Giving is passing on the blessings that have been given to us (like in the song, “The Chain of Love”).  Giving is actually an abandonment of ourselves.  Yeah, it may mean that there is a little less money left for that new pair of shoes and not enough time to go ice-skating…but I’ve found that the happiest people aren’t the ones with everything their heart desires or a schedule that fits according to their exact plans.  The happiest people are actually the ones who did something for somebody other than themselves and gave until it hurt.