Giving and Receiving

Christmastime is a season of giving and receiving gifts.  Usually we dread giving gifts because of how much money we have to spend, but we look forward to receiving gifts.

We are much the same in relationships.

Humans prefer to have someone give, give, give to them and be on the receiving end of attention, encouragement, and friendship.  Sometimes, though, we forget that in order for someone to receive love and affection someone has to give that same love and affection.

For a relationship to be healthy we need to give attention, affection, and warmth to the other person at least as much as we receive that attention, affection and warmth.  A relationship without a generous atmosphere of sharing is a dysfunctional relationship; the person giving the most will eventually burn out and the habitual taker will wonder what happened.

Besides, Jesus himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35, English Standard Version)

This Christmas, as you are shopping for gifts, take a moment and think about giving the gift of time and affection to your friends and family.  That gift will be worth more to them than all of the gadgets and toys money can buy.

To whom can you give the gift of love this Christmas season?

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The Joy of Generosity – A Story

Sometimes we forget that “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35

Just yesterday evening I spent time with a worship pastor I am mentoring and his worship team.  I was planning on enjoying myself, but I was not prepared for the experience I received.

This worship pastor and I have been talking about rehearsal effectiveness, training worship team members, music theory, piano, and so many other things, and I was looking forward to seeing how he was doing and how he worked with his team.

I had never been to one of his rehearsals before, though, and frankly, I was a bit nervous.  I have never had the opportunity to speak into someone’s ministry in this way.  Would I freeze?  Would I have anything at all to say?

My mentor, Stephen Michael Newby of Seattle Pacific University, has given me guidance and encouragement many times, and I have wanted to do the same for someone else. Now that I had the chance I felt a bit tentative.

Sometime during the evening I remember praying, “God, give me something to say.”  The human side of me selfishly wanted to avoid looking like I didn’t know what I was doing, but the spiritual side of me really wanted to make a significant investment into this worship pastor’s ministry.  I blog regularly and I meet with this leader because I want to help others with what I have learned, even as I am still learning myself.

As I said, I was not prepared for the experience I received.  His team was warm, gracious and open to suggestion.  We had fun and they had a great rehearsal.

This morning I met with the worship pastor and we talked for an hour and a half about what is going well and what he could be thinking about.  We talked about how he can figure out the next steps for worship at his church, how to keep his voice healthy, how to encourage the newer and younger musicians on his team, and a myriad of other topics.

By the time we were done I was seriously jazzed because God had given me something to share that was of value to this worship pastor.  I enjoyed giving to him, especially because he is open to suggestion and learning.

This week, ask God for someone you can encourage with what you have learned from your successes and failures.  Giving trumps hoarding every time.

Who are you going to encourage and invest in this week?