Thursday, January 19, 2012

Better to Give

I just returned from having coffee with a friend. We spent the entire morning catching up on one another’s lives, encouraging each other, laughing, and finding out how we could pray for each other. What she might not know is that I also enjoyed one other detail of our visit—the chance to buy her coffee. (Actually, she had tea, but it still felt good to do it.)

Money has been so tight that, if not for the kindness and generosity of others, I honestly don’t know how my family would survive. Lately, whenever I’ve gone out to coffee or lunch with a friend, I have tried to pay my share only to have whoever I’m with insist on treating. I am always grateful, but can’t help feeling guilty sometimes, wondering if I’m on the receiving end of blessings too often. Today, I felt like it was my turn to treat someone else. But how could I do it with no extra cash? Then I remembered a gift card that I had tucked in my wallet. There was definitely enough on the card to cover two drinks. I saw it as God’s way of providing for me and a precious friend who could also use a lift.

Not only was I reminded why it really is more blessed to give than to receive—because it is fun—but I also started rethinking my response to receiving so much from others. If buying a cup of tea for a friend brought me joy, wouldn’t it make sense to assume that those who have treated me to coffee, lunch or a surprise gift experienced the same thrill? Instead of feeling guilty, maybe it was time to go back to my original response of extreme gratitude, knowing that by showing me kindness, those friends were blessed as well.

It’s fun to see the smile and relief that comes from hearing, “It’s my treat.” Covering someone else’s way or giving them something that they didn’t expect stands as proof that we have more than enough to share, even when our bank account tells us we’re living on the edge. I’ve actually discovered that I especially enjoy giving during this time of financial uncertainty, because I know how richly God has provided and I want to pass that on.

When is the last time that you treated a friend to coffee or saw a need and made a sacrifice in order to help? If it has been awhile, look for an opportunity, then note the blessings that both of you receive in the process.


~CC Catherine said...

This is a lovely post, and I have totally been in your shoes of appreciating the lean times and all that it teaches us!

About a year ago a blogger friend of mine experienced the birth of her granddaughter and the death of that baby's mother (her daughter-in-law) within the same day. It was a heart breaking time for the husband and the entire family.

Shortly after, the Lord laid it on my heart to hold a Love Auction on my blog to raise money for this little baby and her dad. Something unexpected happened, my mother experienced a stroke and was hospitalized for months. One thing led to the other and what God had laid upon my heart had now become a faint memory. Throughout the year I'd remember what I'd pledged to do, and I felt guilty that I'd not gotten it done yet.

The anniversary of this mother's death and the first birthday of the little girl was to be on December 22, 2011. When I realized it, the Lord encouraged me that it wasn't too late. I put my pride in the back seat where it belonged and I posted some items I would donate for the Love Auction for Amelia. Three hand made tea cozies that I made myself and a few other trinkets that I'd collected that I thought would bring interest; also among the auction items was some custom made chandelier blank photo note cards. I don't sell any of these items to make money, I just love to make them and give them as gifts.

Well, the Lord blessed the Love Auction, and we raised $200 for little Amelia and her Daddy. The check just went in the mail earlier today to her grandmother, and it felt wonderful to finally "act" on something that God spoke to my heart. Even if it was one year later.

Jeanette Hanscome said...

Thanks so much for sharing this story, Cathrine! I have a strong feeling that your gift didn't feel late at all to the family that received it, but might have been exactly what they needed that day.