Tuesday, August 13, 2019

A Cheerful Giver


2 Corinthians 9:7
Each of you should give what you have decided with your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

My husband, Danny, balances his mind, in careful financial preparedness, with his heart that leans toward generosity.  That can be a precarious tension at times for many of us, but he has honed it to a fine art.

When Danny announces his monthly trip to Costco, I expect no more than the items on his list to make their way home to our pantry.  Was I blindsided!  He enters the kitchen with a gorgeous bouquet of 24 roses, which he presents to me "just because."


Just because . . .

Danny wants to surprise me, which he successfully does.  He values my love for him.  He cherishes the blessings God has granted to both of us through our marriage.

He loves me!

A cheerful giver describes Danny to a "T."

~
It's so easy to love someone who loves you back, isn't it?

But Jesus told us that the pagans and tax collectors do that.  In following Him, we must do more.  We are to love our enemies and pray for them.

We are to be gracious and forgiving toward them.

Gulp!  Now that's something, I would dare say, none of us find easy or desirable.  Especially in the contentious environment we currently experience in our nation's culture.

YET . . .

It is a command from our Lord.

So, how and where do we start?

Simply in simple acts.  I'm reminded of the importance even the seemingly insignificant gesture of kindness shown to another can go a long way.  A smile offered.  A door held open for the person behind us.  Allowing someone with fewer items to jump in front of us in the grocery store line.

Each of these are acts of love shown intentionally with people we don't even know.  For some of us, if we ourselves are feeling hurt, forgotten or unforgivable, this can seem like a monumental task.

Yet, if we make the effort to reach out in genuine care to a fellow human being, who is possibly going through a difficult time in his or her life, we could make all the difference.

Not just in their lives, but in ours.

You don't need to break the bank to be a cheerful giver.

You only need to be present, offering your heart, one small, sincere step at a time.

Amen!

22 comments:

  1. A good post, Martha; and advice we should follow - if we can! I agree that we should be kind to strangers and others we come across in our daily life. But the bit that Christ did not explain fully, (to my mind at least), is the bit about loving our enemies. The fact that they are our enemies means that somewhere down the line we did not agree. We did not see eye to eye. To the point where we no longer speak to each other. That's how divorces or even wars are made! There is a fundamental difference between the two sides that is irreconcilable.

    How does one love one's enemy? Whether a person or a nation?

    Christ loved His enemies when on the Cross. But He was/is God. We are not. We cannot possibly love our enemies as He did.

    It should not stop us from trying. It's a start. Sadly, often, the chasm between the two sides is too large. Prayers help.

    God bless you and thanx for a thought-provoking good post.

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    1. Victor, I think that by praying for and forgiving our enemies is sometimes all we can do in terms of loving them. But then again, those two acts in and of themselves are acts of love, aren't they? No, we can never be like Jesus, but we have to always remember that He asked us to try. With His help, and only with His help, we can do this, even if our attempts are imperfect.
      Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment!
      Love and blessings!

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  2. I'm definitely NOT letting Jo read this! I am not a flower-giver which she reminds me of occasionally. :) I give her myself. What more could she want. LOL LOL!! It is easy to love someone who loves us. It is really hard to love someone who doesn't. But we are called on to do just that. Thanks for the thoughts today Martha. (And tell Danny he is making me look bad)

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    1. Okay, Bill, no hard feelings if you don't show this to Jo! And if it makes you feel any better, Danny doesn't bring home flowers for no reason very often, but I love it when he does. I tell him he doesn't have to because he is enough for me, and I know Jo feels the same about you. We are two most fortunate women!
      Love and blessings!

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  3. What an wonderful gesture... I probably fall short of flower giving myself. Though I do surprise my wife on occasion.

    Random Acts of Kindness... Random for the person on the receiving end, however, it should be purposeful for me. Sometimes it can be a challenge... Especially when I am rushed or perhaps my mood is a bit sour. Sometimes an act of kindness or generosity is enough to flip that around.

    Thanks for the reminder this morning!

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    1. Yes, Ryan, showing kindness toward someone else, even when we don't feel like it, can flip our entire attitude for the better, not to mention the person's on the receiving end. Sure, it's not possible to do so on all occasions, but when we can, that should be our focus.
      Love and blessings!

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  4. Our pastor was speaking of this very thing last Sunday! I used to believe giving = $. Then, in 2017 we were visiting a rural cafĂ© (here) where, as an elderly gent held the door open, he asked "How are you?" … looked me in the eye and waited for a response. (That sort of thing doesn't happen in Phoenix!) Literally, that brought tears to my eyes. So blessed to witness those sorts of acts more often than not!

    Love how you and Danny love each other!

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    1. Mevely, I think that's what I love most about living in the south - people are genuinely courteous to one another. Certainly, there are exceptions, especially in urban areas where there are lots of transplants, but Southern hospitality is still very much alive and kicking here where we live. I try to do all I can to keep it that way. :)
      And I'm sure that you and Tom share that same deep love and respect for each other!
      Love and blessings!

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  5. A beautiful post, Martha Jane. The roses are lovely and you and your Danny are so blessed!

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    1. Thank you, Terri! Yes, the roses are gorgeous, and they're still going strong, as are we. :)
      Love and blessings!

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  6. First of all, way to go Danny! Costco has great deals on roses. Secondly, you are so right, Martha. We don't have to break the bank to show kindness. Sometimes it's just a smile or maybe a cup of coffee.
    Love this post, my friend.

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    1. Way to go, Danny, is right, Beckie! And kindness is so easy to share, isn't it? This world would be such a better place if we all chose to practice it.
      Love and blessings!

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  7. Oh Martha, what a beautiful post. Some times the simplest acts of kindness do far more good than big, costly things. Yes, God loves a cheerful giver--it's truly about the heart.

    Living in Iowa, there tends to be a life-style ethic of "Iowa Nice". Yes, that does happen quite a lot, but there are other times quite the opposite is true.

    What a different place this world would be if more people practiced a bit of kindness, of doing or saying what builds up, rather than what tears down, destroys. That said, we some times need to see/experience the opposite, so we can truly appreciate the good.

    Love and blessings!

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    1. It truly is a matter of the heart, isn't it? And Kim, I think you're right that we appreciate encouragement and kindness a lot more when we've been treated otherwise. Not fun to go through any experience when someone has been mean or indifferent, but it can make us resolve not to treat someone else in a careless and callous manner.
      Love and blessings!

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  8. That is so true. And what a timely post, reminding us that we are called to love everyone, not just those who look like us, think like us, or like us back. And also true that a simple gesture can have an impact we don't even know. I said something kind to someone once, someone I didn't know. Years later, after we had become friends, she told me that she was having a horrible day that day and my kindness was a bright spot that helped her make it through the day. I didn't even remember the incident. So you never know. With every thought, word, or action, we choose to manifest God's love or to sow discord.

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    1. What a great and powerful example you have shared with us here, Galen, about the importance of showing kindness! And how wonderful to hear later about the positive effects your words had on this person. We don't always get feedback for this, but when we do, it's like icing on an already sweet and luscious cake.
      Love and blessings!

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  9. ....and the second command is like the first, to love our neighbors as ourselves! If we truly love giving becomes easy.

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    1. Amen, Nells, yes, it does! May we all engage in more of it, and help make this world a better place.
      Love and blessings!

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  10. This verse is one of my absolute favorites. We are commanded not just to give, but to give freely, cheerfully. What a wonderful God we serve! Your Danny sounds like a prince. I think he's a keeper! :)

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    1. He is a keeper, Laurie, and not a day goes by when I don't thank God that Danny is in my life! This has always been one of my favorite verses, too, because it remind us of the joy we should feel when we know Jesus is in our corner each and every day. What's not to be cheerful about?
      Love and blessings!

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  11. I love this post! You are so right. The smallest random act of kindness can mean the world to someone who is drowning in sorrow and despair. We truly can make a difference, and I have found that it helps me to do something nice for someone I disagree with. God seems to be putting those kinds of people in my path, and I have a choice. I can either be rude and act like they aren't worth my time, or I can reach out and be kind to them. I think it sort of takes them aback when they see a Christian conservative showing kindness and love toward them because sadly they haven't seen much of that lately. It is not easy to do because I look at the way they believe and act and it sickens me and my first knee-jerk reaction is to want to shame them and make it clear to them how wrong they are. But, then I think about Jesus and how He did just the opposite for me. He loved me when I was so unlovable and undeserving of His love, and may HE help me to extend that same grace and mercy to others. Congratulations on your beautiful roses! That was so kind and sweet of your husband. May God bless you both!

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    1. Boy, do I ever hear you, Cheryl! Yes, our knee-jerk reaction is to lash out at someone with whom we disagree, or whose viewpoint actually makes us ill. But it is what Jesus would have us do, so we must, with His help, try our best. Not always easy!!!
      Love and blessings!

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Be Joyful!

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ...