Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Give it Up

Give it Up

By Brenda Black

“The more you give, the more you get. The more you love, the less you fret. The more you do unselfishly, the more you live abundantly. The more of everything you share, the more you'll always have to spare. The more you love, the more you'll find that life is good and friends are kind. For only what we give away enriches us from day to day.” Great advice from David and Claudia Arp, first presented in an article in Marriage Partnership magazine. But their philosophy goes far beyond marital give and take. This generosity is universal in application and especially pertinent this time of year.

First things first: Think outside the money box and holiday mayhem. Giving is time and tenderness, understanding, friendship. Once we get beyond the stifling notion that benevolence only comes in the form of dollars and cents, we find at its core foundation that giving never has strings attached that undermine true charity. Whether you expect anything in return or not, the getting that follows giving is purely fringe benefits, all-the-more sweet when they come unexpectedly. Give whether you get or not and you will get better than you ever deserved.

“'Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap...'” (Luke 6:38)

Once the boundaries are blown open and generosity is no longer tied exclusively with monetary ribbons, you can begin to dole out bounty in some of the most interesting places. Perhaps in a crowded hallway, waiting for a meeting.

I was comfortable in my high-backed, plush chair passing the time while watching strangers mingle and meander their way past me. It felt good to relax. It felt even better when I gladly surrendered that comfy seat to one who would not only enjoy it, but needed it immediately. I saw him slowly approaching and wincing with each step. In a heartbeat I jumped to my far more stable feet and insisted that the older gentleman take my chair. He didn't hesitate and kindly acknowledged my gesture while he painfully lowered himself, gripping the tapered and polished arms for support.

He sighed a few times and gratefully thanked me over and over as he began to feel some relief. We visited of course since each of us was alone and neither had anywhere else to be at the moment. That chair was only the beginning of what we shared. As I leaned against a tall table hovering next to his welcome respite, I learned about his cattle and his career and heard about his service in WWII. More people began to gather in the wide passage and several worked their way straight to this man in the chair. I soon discovered I was in the presence of one quite well-known and regarded.

One after another old-timer stopped to reminisce with my new-found friend. I gave up a chair and I received a half-hour of conversation, a first-hand history lesson, and witnessed warm camaraderie. Yeah, I got back way more than I gave.

The theory has been tested time and again. This principle of generosity has no end. Giving gets. Loving never goes out of date. Unselfish acts result in abundant thanks. The more of everything you share, the more you want to do it again. “For only what we give away enriches us from day to day.”

“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:7-8)

It doesn't take much to give much.

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