Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Giving is Better Than the Receiving

The giving in life, to me, is always better than the receiving.  Don't get me wrong, I love a good gift as much as the next girl, especially one that sparkles!  I look forward to getting a big hug from The Committee, but, I long to give my affection to all of my boys at any time of the day.  There isn't anything that I enjoy more than seeing a smile on a face because I gave something of myself in their honor. 

Over the winter, we went as a family to celebrate all of the February birthdays in The Committee's family.  February is a busy little month for our group.  We have several birthdays, one anniversary, and Valentine's all wrapped up into one short, little month.  It is a joyful month filled with love.

As we were at dinner, we all passed around presents for one another that were growing another year older.  My husband had decided he wanted to pass on a family memento from his grandfather to his new brother-in-law.  We were thrilled to see the emotion upon opening this gift.  It wasn't anything major, and I'm not even sure if there is a great deal of monetary value in the gift.  But, our new brother-in-law shares a love of Alabama football with my husband's grandfather.  The Committee wanted to recognize this shared trait.  It wasn't much, but it was a gift of family.

That's the key.  The giving doesn't always have to be much.  But, the meaning behind the small gift can be great.  It is the meaning that wins out in the end.  It is the offering that makes all the difference.  Imagine a teacher offering a kind, congratulatory word to a student.  How often does someone later in life remember this act of love versus the reason it was given?  Many times, the kind word can make all the difference for a lifetime.  Or, what about the gift of love to someone that has never truly felt loved before?  It has the power to change a life and a future. 

I love the hand me downs that my mother and father have given to me from my grandparents.  A few years ago, my uncle needed to do some spring cleaning and he passed on my grandmother and grandfather’s table to me.  It was always used in my grandparent's home as their dining table.  I can remember going to visit them, and we would always enjoy a family roast beef dinner together. 

In our house, we use it as our kitchen table.  In other words, this is the one place (besides The Committee's leather chair) in our home where someone in our family sits for some reason or another every single day.  Some days it's one of my school-age boys sitting there doing their homework or reading a book.  Or perhaps, The Wild Hair is home on one of his non-Mother's Day Out days eating his lunch while I unload the dishwasher.  One of us is there living out our life just as it was in my grandparent's home.  I love this table.  It is not at all sturdy enough for four rowdy boys, but it is most certainly sturdy enough to hold so many memories from my childhood as well as my mother and uncle's childhood.  It was a gift of convenience for my uncle that has so much meaning each day in my home. 

There are gifts of many different kinds.  All of them varying in substance and monetary value.  Some gifts are minor while others are major.  The giving isn't always easy, and the receiving isn't always graceful.  But, always the gift is a gift and generally the receiving is in the giving.  Serving one another is laying down our needs and looking to help another prosper.  This is truly the difference in living in greed and giving in grace.

Acts 20:35 (NKJV)
In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ 
It’s important to remember that “God prospers us not to raise our standard of living, but our standard of giving.” Jesus says that it is “more blessed to give than to receive.” Isn’t it a blessing to know that you’ve helped out someone in need? Doesn’t it make you feel good? I think it feels a lot better to give to help someone else than when someone gives to us, even though that’s great too.
It’s always rewarding when you help feed a homeless person or someone in poverty who can barely feed themselves. I think it’s rewarding to go on a missions trip to a third world country and just help those in need and pour into their lives. Isn’t that what Jesus modeled for us? To feed the hungry and help those in need? We should follow Jesus’ example of service in everything we do. We need to have an attitude of a servant.

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