Make a life – be a giver…

October 10, 2017

From a recent post on the Jack’s Winning Words blog – “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”  (Quoted by Dave Johnson)

donateMany people associate the word “giving” with money and there certainly are any number of things and causes that ask us to give money. However, giving doesn’t just mean throwing money into the collection basket or bucket. There are more opportunities in life to give of your time and talents than there are Go Fund Me pages. In fact, your time is the most important gift that you have to give.

Giving of your time can be as simple as taking the time to play catch with your son or driving your daughter to the mall with friends. It can be taking a walk, hand-in-hand with a spouse or just sitting and listening to them on the front porch. Maybe it’s visiting acaregiver sick or elderly relative and helping them with some day-to-day task. The point is that you are making the conscious decision to spend some of life’s most precious commodity – time – with someone else or doing something for someone else.

Volunteering your time and talents to help or serve others is one of the highest forms of giving and, ultimately, one of the most satisfying. There is always a little bit of quid pro sewrving soupquo in acts of kindness or service to those that we know – a sibling, spouse or our children; however, there is no expectation of a return to be found in helping a stranger in need. Think about how the simple act of holding the door open feels slightly different when it is a stranger entering verses your spouse entering. Both may say, “thank you”; but the acknowledgement from the total stranger will feel a little different.

So, get a life and find ways to give of your money and your time. At the end of the day you will have less of both and feel the better for it. Do not worry that you don’t have lots of money to give, the Bible says:

“For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.” – 2 Corinthians 8:12

And let your heart be your guide to what you give. Again the Bible says:

“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” – 2 Corinthians 9:7

Be a willing and cheerful giver and God will take care of the rest.

Have a generous day. Have a great life.

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What will you do with what you’ve been given?

September 28, 2015

My wife saw this poem in a recent Dear Abby column and cut it out to save. In its spare verse it manages to capturecampfire and sum up most of what is wrong in the world today, or at least what is wrong with many people. Read it and then think what you would have done, had you been sitting around that fire. Do any of these reactions from people around the fire sound like you?

 The Cold Within

Six humans trapped by happenstance

In bleak and bitter cold.

Each one possessed a stick of wood

Or so the story’s told.

Their dying fire in need of logs

The first man held his back

For of the faces round the fire

He noticed one was black.

The next man looking ‘cross the way

Saw one not of his church

And couldn’t bring himself to give

The fire his stick of birch.

The third one sat in tattered clothes.

He gave his coat a hitch.

Why should his log be put to use

To warm the idle rich?

The rich man just sat back and thought

Of the wealth he had in store

And how to keep what he had earned

From the lazy shiftless poor.

The black man’s face bespoke revenge

As the fire passed from his sight.

For all he saw in his stick of wood

Was a chance to spite the white.

The last man of this forlorn group

Did nought except for gain.

Giving only to those who gave

Was how he played the game.

Their logs held tight in death’s still hands

Was proof of human sin.

They didn’t die from the cold without

They died from the cold within.

– James Patrick Kinney

While the examples may seem a bit simplistic and extreme they echo the preconceived notions and prejudices that drive many of our day to day decisions, especially those concerning the needs of others that we encounter. In each case a judgement is made on the fly. I like the statement made by Pope Francis recently when asked about people who are living a different lifestyle. He simply said, “Who am I to judge?”

The log that each possessed is a metaphor for the gifts that each of us has to share with the world around us. The givingopportunities to help or to share are all around us and many go unmet for reasons as simplistic as those explored in the poem. What will you do this week with the gifts that you have been given? Please don’t die from the cold within. Give, share, help and feel the warmth that comes with caring and having made the effort to help.

Have a great and giving week ahead.


The will to succeed…

February 2, 2015

“Winning isn’t everything, Charlie Brown.”  “That’s true, but losing isn’t anything.”  (Linus and Charlie philosophizing) – As seen on the blog Jack’s Winning Words.

I guess it’s no surprise to see quotes about winning and losing the day after the Super Bowl. I watched the first half of that game, but couldn’t stay up for the rest, which apparently turned out to be a very good game. But, in any game like that someone or some team will football helmetemerge the “winner” and the other side will be labeled the “loser.” That’s too bad, since both teams gave it their all and in the process provided some great entertainment for millions of people.

Jack went on to write in his blog – Vince Lombardi didn’t say, “Winning is the only thing!”  He said, “The will to win is the only thing.”  So much emphasis these days is placed on winning or losing in sports or just in the everyday events of life.  Today’s “Vince” might say, “The main thing is the will to succeed!” …and that can happen in winning and also in losing.

That is so true. I have written here before about the benefits of learning from your mistakes or losses in life. In fact, learning how to deal with losses and how to learn and get better from them is one of life’s most important lessons; which, unfortunately, many never learn. Certainly you don’t see the losers cheering and celebrating in their locker room with Champagne. Instead you quite often see bowed heads and tears. As a temporary display of disappointment that is understandable; however, it should not be allowed to descend into attitudes of failure. The effort it took to get to that big game by both teams was and is commendable and should be recognized by everyone, including the players who were not on the winning team. Both teams had and have the will to succeed and that makes everyone on both teams winners.

Do you have the will to win? In everyday life that “will” might manifest itsingle momself in the drive to get up and go to the gym every morning before work (or after work) or it might be the discipline to get that homework done before watching TV or playing a video game. Sometimes it’s just the will not to be beaten down by the trials that life hands you. When I think of the everyday winners that I’ve met or heard about, I think of the many single moms raising a family by themselves and wonder at their will to win, not for themselves so much as for their children.  I also think of the caregivers, especially those caring for a loved one who can no longer even recognize them, but who have the will to continue trying to make their lives safe, secure and as caregiver“normal” as can be. And then there are those who leave the safety and security of this country to travel to foreign lands to help the children there find a place to live and to learn. They have a will to win in the face of overwhelming odds that will carry them through the trials that they face

Most of us will never be on a team in the Super Bowl or chose to take on the challenges of a missionary caregiver; but many will have the opportunity to provide care and comfort to aging parents or perhaps take on the challenges involved in providing foster care for children in need. Some never get to go to foreign lands to help, but work tirelessly here to be able to send things that will help make life better for children there. Whatever the level caregiver handsof service to others that we take on, it is important to have that will to succeed. Sometimes that means taking the time to quietly ask for help in a moment of prayer. There could be no better coach for your team than the One who will answer those prayers. We’re all winners when we play on that team.

Have a great week ahead. Be successful. Help is just a prayer away.