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Archive for the ‘Generosity’ Category

 

 

“Your life can overflow with radical blessings!” Jesus told the crowd.

Maybe he didn’t use those words (even in Aramaic), but that was the reason he shared eight glimpses of what happens when we embrace God’s way of thinking and living.  Those eight declarations of blessedness are called the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12).

Declaration #1 reads as follows:

 

 

The subsequent seven statements follow the same pattern.

But read through the rest of scripture and you’ll find other beatitudes as well, especially in Proverbs. And now that I’ve accumulated some life experience over a number of decades, I see more clearly than ever:  we do receive radical blessings when we embrace God’s ways.

For example:

Rhonda was struggling financially, trying to work part-time as much as she could while putting herself through college. She came over for dinner one night and I felt compelled to give her a bunch of coupons from my file, for the things she purchased regularly.

 

 

Now you have to understand, that coupon collection was extensive, because I gathered from numerous sources, traded with others, and even sent away product labels to receive high-value coupons.

It hurt to hand over a fistful of my precious stash. But I knew it was the right thing to do.

The next week, I received–from two different women–two bags full of coupon inserts from Sunday newspapers.

And I learned:

 

 

Or, written Beatitude-style:

Blessed are those who give freely,

for they will gain even more.*

 

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Everyone loved “Aunt Toss.” She never went anywhere without a smile on her lips, a twinkle in her eye, and a chuckle at the ready. Frequently Aunt Toss would pop into Steve’s office to share a joke he might be able to use in a sermon. She saw humor in everything, was quick with the witty quip, and could pun with the best of them.

Yet during the years we knew her, she suffered terribly from shingles. And she missed her husband dearly. No one would have blamed Aunt Toss if her cheerfulness slipped a little. But she didn’t let that happen.

Instead, Aunt Toss enjoyed a continual feast of happy thoughts, pleasurable moments, and the reflected cheer from others, as she caused everyone around her to smile and laugh with her.

And I learned:

 

 

Written Beatitude-style:

 

Blessed are the cheerful,

for they have a continual feast of delight.

 

(The lovely lady in the photograph is not Aunt Toss, but she exuded the same joy.)

 

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One of my husband’s spiritual gifts is generosity (Romans 12:8). Even during those early years of our marriage when the budget was tight, he would graciously help others in need.

So how did we make ends meet? We lived quite frugally, owned one car, wore some very nice hand-me-down clothing from family and friends, shopped with coupons of course, and watched for bargains.

One store in particular became a regular stop on my errands—a hit-or-miss place that carried an ever-changing array of goods.

One day a jumble of Keds lay piled on a table near their door. Heather, our middle child, was just about ready for a new pair. But she had narrow feet; her shoes had to be purchased at places like Stride Rite. The chance I’d find her size on that table was slim to none. (‘Hope you like puns!)

But a good rummage through the mound turned up a pair of size 7 slim after all. The best part? The price. You are not going to believe this:

Fifty cents.

 

 

Now granted, this occurred in the late 1970s. Things were cheaper back then, but not THAT cheap! At Stride Rite, we were paying $14.00 for a pair of Keds.

During those years of financial challenge, God provided bargain after bargain and gift after gift, due at least in part to Steve’s God-honoring generosity. And as only our Heavenly Father can do, he made sure our needs were always met—and then some.

 

 

For out beatitude statement, we can add the result of kindness, from verse 31:

Blessed is he who is kind to the needy,

for he honors God.

 

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Over and over God has proved:   His ways are always best.  In fact, they are perfect.

 

 

How has he proved his wise ways in your life?  Please share your story in the comment section below!

 

* Of course, financial gain is not the only way God blesses those who give freely. Gains can be received through enhanced relationships, an uplifted spirit, added wisdom, greater contentment—and that’s just for starters. Our God is highly creative; he brings gain into our lives in countless ways.

 

Art & photo credits — Sermon on the Mount: wikimedia.com, bird on branch: www,canva.com,  coupons: http://www.pexels.com, hands: http://www.flickr.com, smiling woman: http://www.pexels.com, heart: http://www.pexels.com,  tennis shoes: ww.pixabay.com, Proverbs 14:21: http://www.heartlight.org, 2 Samuel 22:31: http://www.dailyverses.net.

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“Joseph went up from the town of Nazareth to Bethlehem,

because he belonged to the house and line of David.

He went there to register with Mary,

who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.”

–Luke 2:4-5 excerpts, NIV

 

The distance from Nazareth to Bethlehem is about eighty-five miles. Can you imagine walking that far, nine months pregnant? I can’t. Even if Mary rode on a donkey, she’d have been jostled and swayed from side to side. How comfortable would that have been? I think I’d rather walk.

And yet, in spite of Mary’s unremitting discomfort and Joseph’s growing concern, the couple surely traveled the road to Bethlehem with great hope in their hearts. Her firstborn would soon enter the world—a Child like no other. The angel, Gabriel, had made it clear to both of them: Mary would bear a son, the promised Messiah, and he would save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).

Sure enough, Mary delivered the child while they were in Bethlehem, the exact birthplace identified by the prophet Micah (5:2), centuries before the event.

 

 

That same night shepherds cowered in the grass as blinding light pierced the darkness and a startling figure appeared—an angel. Fear quickly gave way to wonder, however, as the shepherds heard the astounding announcement. The Messiah had finally been born, not in the Holy City of Jerusalem as one might expect, but just a stone’s throw away in their own little village.

Soon the shepherds were also traveling a road to Bethlehem. But this was undoubtedly no midnight stroll; they may have even tried to outrun each other. And the exuberant joy that propelled them was accompanied by confident faith in their hearts. They knew the angel’s message had come from the Lord (Luke 2:15).

 

 

Many miles to the east wise men took note of a special star and shortly thereafter set out upon their own long road to Bethlehem. It’s possible they followed the star westward for two years, in order to worship the Messiah and present him with precious treasure: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.   Theirs was a road of generosity.

And now it’s our turn to travel the road to Bethlehem—a figurative one. With Thanksgiving behind us, we journey toward December 25, the final destination after a month-long celebration of our Savior’s birth.

Like Mary and Joseph we can travel with hope because our Heavenly Father is a God of his Word, who loves, encourages, strengthens, and more (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17).

 

 

Like the shepherds, we can embrace the truth of our Savior’s birth and all its implications for an abundant, God-enhanced life now and unending euphoria in heaven yet to come (John 10:10, 1 John 5:11-13).

Last, like the wise men, we can follow the road of generosity, not only with presents for family and friends or contributions to ministries and charities, but also with such gifts as:

  • A smile for the harried store clerk,
  • Focused attention on the toddler who wants to sing “Rudolph,”
  • A listening ear for the elderly lady at the grocery store,
  • Cheerful patience while waiting in line at the post office, and
  • The benefit of the doubt—for everyone.

Best of all, our road to Bethlehem extends beyond December 25—into eternity—where hope will be culminated, faith will become sight, and generosity will be rewarded (1 Peter 1:3-4; Hebrews 11:1; Ephesians 6:8).

 

 

The road may seem long at times.   But the destination will be rapturously worth it.

______________________________

Your turn:

Of course these three–hope, faith, and generosity–aren’t the only roads to Bethlehem.  There are many, including the familiar roads of love, joy and peace.  What road (s) will you travel this Advent season?  Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!

 

(Art & photo credits:  http://www.flickr.com; http://www.wikimedia.com; http://www.flickr.com; http://www.slideplayer.com; http://www.pexels.com.)

 

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Destroyed_Warsaw,_capital_of_Poland,_January_1945

(Warsaw, Poland, January 1945)

 

World War II reduced much of Western Europe to rubble. Homes, businesses, factories, and much of the infrastructure were damaged or destroyed. How could the region rehabilitate itself? It couldn’t. Even two years after the war ended, very little rebuilding had been accomplished. Many people were living in poverty. Government agencies, in chaos themselves, could offer little if any support.

America came to the rescue, helping to rehabilitate post-war Europe at the cost of $22 billion dollars.   That’s about $182 billion in today’s economy, to assist sixteen nations, including Germany, for six years (1946 to 1952) (1).

Granted, the investment provided a boon to our economy when those nations began to thrive and became strong trade partners with us. National security was undoubtedly enhanced as well.

But a nation such as ours, rich with resources and populated by creative, entrepreneurial people, could surely have survived quite well without their participation. Besides, think what America could have done with $22 billion.

No, greater than economic gain or national security was the importance of doing the right thing and providing humanitarian aid – even to our enemies.

 

Picture of German Children receiving aid from LWR in 1951, taken from Together in Hope book by John Bachman.

German Children receiving aid in 1951, taken from Together in Hope book by John Bachman.

 

“Our policy is directed not against any country or doctrine but against hunger, poverty, desperation, and chaos,” said then-Secretary of State, George C. Marshall.

No other nation in history has offered such post-war assistance—and so generously. Now, nearly seventy years later, the foreign aid continues—still totaling billions of dollars every year. And not only does this aid go to our allies or other republics, but to nations of differing political doctrines, all over the globe.

Such generosity is one of our core values in America, contributing to our nation’s greatness. But it is not the only thing.

No other nation on earth offers so much humanitarian aid—much of it by volunteers. Think of the doctors and nurses, teachers and engineers, plus a multitude of non-profit organizations whose sole objective is to relieve suffering around the world and help others lead more productive, satisfying lives.

In 2013 just one agency, the American Red Cross, accomplished the following (among many other achievements).

They:

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  • Assisted millions of people in 24 countries, impacted by disaster.
  • Continued to aid 4.3 million earthquake victims in Haiti to rebuild their lives.
  • Helped vaccinate over 98 million children against measles.
  • Continued to develop disaster preparedness in 32 countries, so communities are not so vulnerable.
  • Helped to reconnect nearly 900 families separated by war or disaster (2).

Is it safe to say that, without America, the world would be a very different place? Our generosity and humanitarianism alone have produced significant results around the globe. But there is still more that sets us apart.

No other nation on earth provides such freedom, opportunity, and protection for its citizens.

In addition, recent immigrants often speak of the wonder and delight they experience upon coming to America. They marvel that: roads are regularly repaired, highway signs are clear and accurate, business practices are generally fair. They’re astonished by the volume and variety of goods available–things that most American take for granted, like shampoo, disposable diapers, and deodorant (3).

And what’s the foundation of all this goodness that has contributed to America’s greatness? It’s the values and principles most Americans still embrace–those laid out in the Bible.

For example:

Our generosity can be traced back to Deuteronomy 15:7-8, Proverbs 21:26, and Matthew 25:34-40.

 

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Our humanitarianism—even to our enemies—is rooted in the teachings of Jesus (Matthew 5:44) and Paul (Romans 12:20).

And our way of life, based on freedom, fairness, and adherence to law brings to mind the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12), Romans 12:9-10, and many other scriptures upholding respectful treatment of all.

Granted, we’re not perfect. Selfishness, greed, and power-grabbing fester among us.  But the world is still a better place for the biblical principles named above which provide America’s foundation–whether folks acknowledge that truth or not.

Praise God for his influence through our founding fathers (many of whom were Christians) and self-sacrificing believers in Jesus throughout our 240-year history. It is on their shoulders we stand to do our part. to advance those attributes that make America great–like no other nation.

 

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What do you think has contributed to America’s greatness?  Celebrate your appreciation for our nation in the comment section below!

 

Notes:

  1. usnews.com
  2. redcross.org
  3. heritage.org

 

(Art & photo credits:  www.wikipedia.org; http://www.lwr.org; http://www.redcross.org; http://www.pinterest.com; http://www.azquotes.com.)

 

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Cy lined up his machine at one edge of the wheat field. He gave Henry, their most reliable workhorse, a few reassuring pats on the shoulder, and a rub to his nose.

“This is it, old boy,” he whispered. “I think we’ve got a winner this time. Are you ready?”

Henry nodded his head as if he understood. But Cy knew the horse was just anxious to head down the rows, hopeful there’d be a carrot or two at the end.

With a doff of his hat to his watching father, Cy got behind the machine, and called, “Walk!”

Henry pulled forward and the machine followed alongside, exactly as Cy had designed it, so Henry’s hooves would not be trample the wheat–just one of the problems Cy had solved as he worked on his invention.

Actually, it wasn’t solely his. Cy’s father, Robert, had worked for sixteen years developing a machine to ease the slow, back-breaking work of cutting wheat with a scythe or sickle.  Also important to a wheat farmer: a quick harvest.  Too often they suffered the debilitating disappointment of a crop ruined by rain because harvest couldn’t always be achieved fast enough.

 

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Solutions to several problems had evaded Robert. Twenty-one year old Cy asked if he could give the reaper a try.

Cy worked out several improvements: 1) a paddle wheel to press the wheat against the cutting blade, 2) a toothed blade that moved back and forth. 2) a comb-like affair that held the stalks in place for cutting, and 3) a divider situated ahead of the reaper, to separate the grain to be cut from the grain left standing.

Now, just six weeks after receiving permission to take over the project, Cy was ready to test his newest version.

As reliable old Henry plodded down the first row, the machine whirred among the grain, neatly slicing the stalks near the ground. In no time Cy and his reaper had reached the end of the field. The wheat was neatly cut, none had been trampled or left behind, and the blades had not jammed.

 

mccormick-reaper-jpeg

 

Cyrus McCormick had just changed the way the world farmed. For centuries, no more than an acre or two of wheat could be harvested in a day. Cy’s invention reaped a dozen or more.

On June 21, 1834 (one hundred eight-two years ago tomorrow), Cyrus McCormick took out a patent for the horse-drawn reaper.

By 1847, he and his brother, Leander, were moving from Virginia to Chicago to build a factory for reaper production. Waterways and railways made the small city of 40,000 a new hub for transportation. It was also on the edge of the Great American prairie, where pioneers were turning grasslands into farms.

 

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Four years later, Cyrus would be honored by the French Academy of Sciences for “having done more for agriculture than any other living man” (1).

He was also amassing a great fortune.

Perhaps you remember parts of Cy’s story from history class. But few history students (I would guess) know that Cyrus McCormick was a Christian—a man who didn’t just listen to God’s Word, but lived it (James 1:22).

 

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For example:

Cyrus’ business practices followed the Golden Rule, making it possible for struggling farmers to buy a reaper. He was the first American businessman to offer: 1) an installment plan for purchase, 2) a set price—no haggling necessary (a common practice at the time), 3) a trial period, and 4) a written warranty for his product.

 

McCormick portrait

 

Jesus said, “Freely have you received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8). For Cyrus that meant supporting ministries. McCormick’s legacy included:

  • Large contributions to the salaries of two missionaries, John R. Mott and Sherwood Eddy. (At the time American mission work abroad was growing rapidly.)
  • $10,000 to Dwight L. Moody to help start the Chicago YMCA.
  • Another $100,000 to Moody to start his Bible Institute.
  • Yet another $100,000 to Northwestern Theological Seminary, later renamed McCormick Theological Seminary.

All three of these institutions are still functioning, still impacting people all these years later.

mccormick theo sem of presbyterian ch

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Thank you, Father, for such heroes as Cyrus. H. McCormick, whose legacy continues in the lives of many, including the graduates of Moody Bible Institute and McCormick Theological Seminary. No doubt his influence is also at work around the globe, through the ripple effect of John R. Mott’s and Sherwood Eddy’s work. Only You know how many other ministries and individuals McCormick impacted.

 

Lord, keep me mindful that “the greatest use of my life is to spend it for something that will outlast it” (2). That something would be your kingdom, and Cyrus H. McCormick is a prime example.  

 

Notes:

  1. lemelson.mit.edu.
  2. William James

 

Sources:  www.cbn.org; http://www.intheworkplace.com; http://www.worldencyclopedia.org; http://www.christianhistoryinstitute.org.

 

 

Art & photo credits:  www.pinterest.com (2); http://www.american-historama.org; http://www.wisconsinhistory.org; http://www.pinterest.com; http://www.chicagotribute.org; http://www.chicagopc.info.

 

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How would you complete this statement?

 

“____________________ is the rarest and purest form of generosity.”

 

Possibilities might include:

A. Financial assistance

B. A thoughtful, meaningful present

C. A favor or kind deed

D.Attention

According to a speaker I heard on the radio, the answer is D.  He was evidently quoting Christian author and activist for the poor, Simone Weil (1909-1943):

 

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Attention is a rare form of generosity, because it involves time and effort—both of which are precious commodities.

But every now and then, all of us need someone to focus her eyes on ours, listen to our words with mental concentration, and respond appropriately–even pick up on our facial expressions and tone of voice.

 

listening-ear

 

That’s often the exception, however, not the norm. Who has not tried to share a deep, heartfelt concern, only to have the listener look away at a slight distraction or steal a glance at her phone, then fail to react appropriately because she wasn’t tuned in to the story? Worse yet is when she interrupts with her own story, her own agenda.

I don’t want to be that distracted person. I’d like to follow my brother’s example. John has always been one to give up the precious commodity of time for others.

During our growing up years, we lived next door to a family with five children. Tragedy struck one afternoon when the father fell while repairing their roof.   He hit his head on the concrete driveway and never regained consciousness. The next day he was gone.

Though John was at least seven or eight years older than three of those neighbor boys, he would play ball with them now and again, giving them a bit of attention, which they surely needed.

One time when Fred, the third oldest child, came to our door and asked, “Can John come out to play?” we had to laugh. (Not in front of Fred, of course.) At the time, John was in his early twenties, serving in the Air Force and home on leave! But he did go out to play.

 

A silhouette of a father and his young child playing baseball outside, isolated against the sunsetting sky on a summer day.

 

I’d also like to follow the example of Dixie, the choir director of one of the churches where my husband served as pastor. She perfectly demonstrated how to live out Philippians 2:4 (NIV): “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (1).

Dixie always stayed focused on the persons sharing with her. She was responsive, without saying too much, letting the speakers know they were being heard and understood.

Great satisfaction can result from providing the gift of attention to another. But that’s not the only blessing.

  • We gain a better understanding of life while listening to the experiences of others. “A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions” (Proverbs 18:2 NIV).
  • Our own relationships can be strengthened as we learn from the examples of those who share with us.
  • Worthwhile ideas are discovered—ideas we may never have thought of on our own.
  • When we’re kind to the needy, we honor God (Proverbs 14:31b).

 

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Lord, I don’t want to be wrapped up in my own agenda. I’d much rather be like my brother, John—generous with my time and communicating encouragement through my attentive presence. Help me also to be an attentive listener like Dixie. Remind me, Father, to slow down, embrace the moment and genuinely interact with those around me.

 

  1. Note to self: Concern for self is not wrong as long as true compassion for others balances the scale of my attention.

 

(Art & photo credits:  www.pinterest.com; http://www.publicdomainpictures.net; http://www.pinterest.com (2).

 

Who has provided the rare gift of attention for you?  What did you appreciate most about that gift?  Please share your story in the Comments section below!

 

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(Reblogged from April 4, 2013)

 

Gift wrap 2

 

It was late afternoon when the doorbell rang.

Through the sheer curtain at the window I could see D., from down the street. She and I had recently met and were becoming good friends.

“Is everything okay?” I asked while ushering D. inside.

“Oh, yes. It’s just…I have a present for you,” she replied. Sure enough, D. was carrying a wrapped box. We sat on the living room couch.

It was not Christmastime, and not my birthday. Why was she giving me a gift?

“Open it,” she encouraged.

“But, D.,” I hesitated.

“Go on!”

Upon removing the paper and taking the lid off the box, I beheld a lovely navy blue Bible with gilded pages.

Now you need to know, D.’s husband and mine were in seminary at the time. Neither of our households had much money to spare. So this gift seemed over-the-top extravagant to me. Of course I could not accept it.

“D., this is absolutely beautiful, but…”

She stopped me. “I chose to buy this for you; I want you to have it. Besides, if you won’t receive it, you’ll steal my blessing!”

D. was referring, of course, to Acts 20:35: It is more blessed to give than receive.

I had never considered that interpretation, but she was right. In order for a giver to be blessed, there does need to be a receiver.

“Besides,” D. continued with a grin. “I already wrote inside the front cover. I can’t take it back. So there!”

D.’s words of that long-ago afternoon still play in my mind when I find myself balking at unexpected or overly generous gifts. Even favors can make me uncomfortable. But if I don’t graciously receive, I steal the blessing from the giver.

And what’s at the bottom of my reluctance? I think it’s a sense of unworthiness and pride. Now there’s a strange set of opposites!

D.’s gift made me feel unworthy. I wasn’t deserving of her sacrificial gift.

Yet pride was part of my reaction, too. I didn’t need her gift. I already had a perfectly good Bible. Yes, it was an old and worn King James version, but it had served me well and could certainly continue to do so.

What I began to understand that day is: receiving well is in itself a form of generosity.

When I graciously express heartfelt gratitude for a gift, and share my appreciation for the time, effort, and thoughtfulness of the giver, I make a positive contribution of affirmation into her heart.

After D. left that day, I remember tearfully reading her inscription, and fingering the gilded pages. I felt incredibly honored, loved, and appreciated by D.’s gift.

Now, if it’s more blessed to give than receive, I wonder what D. felt as she walked home that afternoon? I pray she, too, felt honored, loved, and appreciated, even though my gratitude seemed paltry.

But surely the greater blessing came as God loved, honored, and appreciated D. for her gift.

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Heavenly Father, I thank you for D.’s example, still strong after all these years. May I never miss an opportunity to be a blessing to others, whether I am the giver or the receiver.

What lessons have you learned from the givers and receivers in your life? Tell us your story!

(Photo credit:  www.episcopalbookstore.com.)

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inspire

Dove chocolates come wrapped in foil on which are printed positive and encouraging statements. Recently I found this one:

“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”

A positive attitude of praise and celebration, even for the little blessings, does contribute to a sense of well-being.  But there’s an important omission in this quote–the cause of all those blessings.  Perhaps the sentiment might be worded like this:

“The more you praise and celebrate God in your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”

Now a pleasing sentiment has become solid truth, because with God in our lives, joy is our constant companion.

“You make me glad by your deeds, O Lord;

I sing for joy at the works of your hands.”

(Psalm 92:4)

 It requires such a small effort, really.

 Sometimes, all we need to do is focus on the pleasure of ordinary events:

  • Water vapor curling up from a cup of coffee
  • Sunbeams finally breaking through, after three days of unrelenting rain
  • The first butterfly of spring dancing among the daffodils

Sometimes all we need to do is change our perspective.  We can choose to:

  • Get depressed over the huge stack of dirty dishes in the kitchen, or reminisce (while we clean!) over the delightful meal just enjoyed with family and friends
  • Grumble that vacation is over, or celebrate that two weeks out-of-town makes even our scuffed-up, well-lived-in home look mighty inviting
  • Sigh with dissatisfaction that personal goals have not yet been reached, or take note of how far we’ve come

Sometimes all we need to do is make a celebration out of a small moment.

I had been shopping at the mall for several hours, scouring the sales racks to no avail. Suddenly I looked down at my purse on which I had draped my light jacket and sweater. The sweater was gone. It was one of my favorites.

So not only did I not purchase an addition for my wardrobe that afternoon, I had subtracted a piece of clothing I already owned.  That sweater had just been dry cleaned, too. “Insult to injury,” as they say.

Retracing my steps seemed pointless; I had been in so many stores.

Not long after realizing my sweater was gone, it was time to meet Steve for dinner at a restaurant attached to the mall.  We ordered our meals, and then I told him what happened.

“I’ll check the mall lost-and-found after we eat,” I said. “By then maybe someone will have found my sweater and turned it in.”

So that’s what we did.

No sweater.

Steve suggested we stop at the stores where I’d shopped, as we made our way back to the car.

At the very first store the eyes of the young sales girl lit up when I asked about a lost sweater. “What color was it?” she asked.

“Red,” I told her.

“We did find it! It’s right back here!” she enthusiastically replied, walking to the back of the store.

Sure enough, there it was. Someone had even put it on a hanger.

Well! I thanked her, and the manager behind the counter, not knowing which of them had found it and been so thoughtful.

One of them jokingly said something about doing good deeds for chocolate.

As it happened, just two doors down was the Godiva Chocolate Shop. Steve and I popped in, bought two little boxes, and went back to the clothing store.

When those two girls saw the Godiva bag they whooped in surprise and delight. Steve and I laughed, too.

“God blessed me through you by returning my sweater; we wanted to bless you,” I said.

“Oh! That remark about chocolate was just a joke!” the salesgirl cried. “But you have no idea how much I needed this. Today has been especially rough.” She started around the counter with her arms outstretched. “Come here! I need to give you a hug!”  Then she added, “Look!  I’m crying!”  I had tears in my eyes as well.

The level of endorphins was so high in that shop the lights shone brighter, the air smelled fresher, and the atmosphere crackled with joy.

And all because we took a small moment and magnified its significance, and we gave God the glory as we celebrated a God-orchestrated event.

Truly, “The more you praise and celebrate God in your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”

And God celebrates, too.  After all, he loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7), right?  Surely that includes givers of chocolate and hugs.

(Photo credit:  www.inhabityourmoments.com.)

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What are you celebrating in life today?  Share your joy in the comments below!

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Small-Town Stranieri

Our Life in Small-Town Italy

Laurie Klein, Scribe

immerse in God, emerge refreshed

Strength Renewed

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

Colleen Scheid

Writing, Acting, Living the Grace of God

Walking Well With God

Impressions Becoming Expressions

Shelly Miller

Impressions Becoming Expressions

Mitch Teemley

The Power of Story

Faith Barista

Because some days you need a double-shot of faith.

Wings of the Dawn

even there Your hand will lead me ~ poems and reflections by Heidi Viars

Jennifer Dukes Lee

Storyteller. Grace Dweller.

Holley Gerth

Empowering You To Become All You're Created To Be

Unshakable Hope

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

Healthy Spirituality

Nurturing Hearts Closer to God

Just Wondering

Impressions Becoming Expressions

Jody Lee Collins

Impressions Becoming Expressions

(in)courage

Impressions Becoming Expressions