November 4, 2016
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” Galatians 6:9 (NLT)
I felt worn-out, and I knew my perspective on giving needed a little refreshing.
Even though I’ve always admired generous people and want to be known as one, I started to feel resistance in my heart against being a truly cheerful giver in every area of my life — with my time, my gifts and my finances.
Sometimes I was reluctant to give because I felt too consumed by my every day schedule. Other times, I felt the pinch of need in my own life. And occasionally it was because I’d become jaded toward the recipients of my help.
My friend Rita told me a story that was just what I needed. Her mother, an immigrant who grew up in desperate poverty, was very committed to a relief project for her home country. She would collect gently used shoes and ship them to an organization in her homeland that had needed help.
Rita’s mother did this for years, during which her own eight children observed their mother’s work and generosity.
Surprisingly, Rita was frustrated with her mother instead of admiring her work. One day, in exasperation, she said to her mother, “Why do you continue to work on this project? You know how corrupt the system is over there. Those shoes are probably stolen, resold and used to line the pockets of some corrupt official. You are just wasting your time.”
Her mother looked at Rita compassionately and responded, “Rita, my responsibility is not in the receiving. My responsibility is in the giving.”
As I digested Rita’s story and her mother’s lesson, I realized I’d stopped giving because I wasn’t sure of the response.
- I didn’t give to poor people on the street because I didn’t know how they’d spend the money.
- I didn’t freely love friends because I didn’t know how they felt about me.
- I withheld time from my family because I didn’t think they appreciated it.
It’s easy to find reasons not to give … Too busy. One too many scams. Believing nobody cares about giving to me in my need. Thinking that somehow, somebody else will take care of it.
I’ve used all these excuses at one point or another, but I felt a softening in the hardened places of my heart as I listened to the wisdom Rita’s mom shared.
Her reminder is one echoed in Galatians 6:9, “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”
If you’re tired and full of excuses like I was, the best way to renew your commitment to doing good is to start giving.
My former stingy approach to life and love never served me well. God has given me extravagance and abundance. I want to be wise about where I give my time and resources, but I also want to do it freely and with an open heart. I want to be one who listens carefully to His voice for opportunities to give, because I know He can be trusted with the results.
Receiving refreshment comes through giving. And sometimes, it’s in the simplest of ways:
Give a smile to a weary clerk.
Give a break to a worn-out mom.
Give some time to a struggling non-profit.
Give your money to someone in need.
Give loving wisdom to a stressed friend.
Join me in the refreshing act of giving, even if you’re tired of doing good!
Lord, it’s easy to become tired in giving, but I’m asking You to increase my desire and determination to be generous in all parts of my life. I ask You to make good on your promise: Refresh me as I refresh others! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 37:21, “The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously.” (NIV)
Luke 6:38, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (NIV)
In Amy Carroll’s book, Breaking Up with Perfect, she shares more lessons of imperfect progress in living and loving. Buy a copy today to join the movement from less perfection to more joy!
Visit Amy’s blog to enter to win a copy of one of her favorite books about selfless giving, Same Kind of Different as Me.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Which of Amy’s excuses have you used in the past instead of giving?
Ask God to show you where to be generous in your life today. At the end of the day, write down the results of your giving and how you feel about it.
© 2016 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.
Originally published Friday, 04 November 2016.