Saturday, October 23, 2010

What Makes You Strong, Part Three

What is it that -- according to studies -- improves mood, relieves anxiety, maximizes health, sparks creativity and engenders feelings of love? Giving back.

It turns out that one of the best things you can do for your self is to do something for others.  That's right: giving makes you strong. But of course, Jesus indicated this very thing when He said:

"If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving--large or small--it will be used to measure what is given back to you."(Luke 6:38, NLT)

Love in a Teapot

Sometimes we may thinking that giving back or sharing ourselves with others needs to be a grand affair but this need not be the case.  The key to giving is to find ways and means that are uniquely your own and which communicate true care and concern.

One of my favorite examples of simple and creative giving involves a friend's mother who has a well-documented knack for acquiring inexpensive teapots at garage sales and the like. When she becomes aware of a neighbor or friend who is going through a tough time, or who is ailing or who could just use a lift; she springs to action.

Before long, a small plant or flower is planted into a teapot planter and the simple-yet-elegant gift is ready to be presented. Imagine what a delightful surprise this simple kindness provides to the person on the receiving end. And, of course, this thoughtful woman's gift comes with an offer of prayer, too!

This Grace of Giving

In 2 Corinthians 8:7, the Apostle Paul urges us to excel in what he describes as "this grace of giving". How wonderful when our giving is not a chore, but a "grace"! How life-giving it is when we discover that our tired, depleted, crowded souls can come to life again as we give to someone else. It is as if the overflow of the "grace of giving" comes back to us and strengthens us again.

"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him" (Col. 3: 17).

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