Just Give...

A woman with gray hair at the temples approached me in the parking lot. She wore jeans and a clean lavender T-shirt. In her hand she carried a small, plastic grocery bag, but in her face she carried a load of worry.

“Excuse me,” she said. “I’ve just paid my rent and I have no money for food.” She held up the plastic bag. “This here’s my medicine. Could you spare a couple of dollars? I have a microwave, so I could cook something.”

When asked to give, it’s so easy to question the integrity of an organization or individual. In this case, was the woman really going to use the money for food? Or was she just playing the sympathy game in order to con me out of all she could?

In a split second I looked at the back of our pick-up, full of plants and flowers for our backyard. For our pleasure. A luxury. Ready to be thrown in the trash was an empty paper cup - all that remained of the coffee I’d purchased at Starbucks that morning without any concern for what it would it cost.

I opened my wallet and handed her a small amount of cash.

“Thank you,” she said.

“You’re welcome.” I meant it.

Yes, we’re to be good stewards of our money. When we give to any individual, ministry, or charity, we should use good judgment.

But, I also believe there are times when God asks us to just give.

Give because we can. And then don’t worry about how, why, or what the money is going to be used for.

Just let it go…

"Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.

Do to others as you would have them do to you.

If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.

And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that.

And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full.

But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.

Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

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.”

Luke 6: 30-38

God will bless our willingness to give.


Consider the Ravens

Rain had nourished the pink geraniums and other plants growing in the yard. But, baskets hanging beneath the overhang of the house, remained dry.

I hooked up the water wand to the hose and gave plants growing in each basket a quenching drink. Reaching into the half basket hung in the entryway to our front door, I tested for dryness.

My fingers felt something solid and round.

“How did a rock get in there?”

I lifted the object out of the basket to see not a rock, but a bird’s egg.

After unhooking the basket from the nail on the wall, I peered inside to discover a nest built into the dirt and vegetation. I replaced the egg and several days later an additional egg lay cradled next to it.

Our yard is full of tall trees. Birch trees, cherry trees, and an assortment of evergreens. Large, beautiful floral baskets hang from the house.

But, this bird decided to make a home in the smallest and simplest space available.

An unusual place, to be sure…but sheltered from the elements and other creatures who might do harm to the “family.” It met the need.

God works that way.

He doesn’t always provide in the way we think He would, should, or could.

But, He always provides…

Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are then the birds!

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.

If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!

And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it.

For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them.

But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
Luke 12: 24-31


The Truth Is...

Do you ever start your sentences with the following?

“The truth is…”

“In all honesty…”

“To tell you the truth…”

"If I’m going to be honest…”

Why do we do that?

Why do we need to qualify what we say as the truth? Are we not truthful in other areas of conversation?

I’ve been guilty of saying those very words. But, I’ve begun to stop myself when those words threaten to pass through my lips. I don’t want to convey that what I now say is the truth. I want people to always trust what comes out of my mouth.

It’s never right to purposefully hurt someone, but I think if done with kindness, truth wins over being dishonest.

I belong to a critique group. The four of us meet on a regular basis to discuss each other’s work. We’re honest with each other and sometimes it’s difficult to hear that a scene labored over doesn’t work. But, it’s so much better hearing it from three people who care about you and the work than to submit it to an editor who may toss it in the garbage without giving you a chance to fix it.

How often does a woman ask if her…ummmm…her butt looks big in a certain outfit? Her husband may think he’s being kind by telling her she looks great. (He may also think he’s keeping himself out of hot water.) That’s why women should never ask such questions of their husbands. Girlfriends on the other hand will tell you, “Honey, that ain’t workin for ya. But, the blue one…that looks great.”

The truth can be difficult to hear. But, if given out of love - if given with a gentle spirit - it can be a blessing.

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32

That verse from the Bible can refer to Christ, but it also means truth in general.

Be honest. Be truthful.
For yourself and the people around you.


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