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.