Giving to Live

light-1771722_640

“They throw caution to the winds,

Giving…in reckless abandon.

Their right-living, right-giving ways,

never run out, never wear out.”*

There are primarily two ways of administering our gifts to the world, as a matter of enthusiastic generosity or as a grudging obligation. Which defines your posture? Honestly, that’s about all we can control. I often find myself holding back when I prejudge or speculate about the reward as if I am entirely responsible for that. I find we can trust the blueprint and fearless design encoded in our being that gives rise to our natural abilities, to also amaze us with its commitment to reward our service and offerings beyond our expectations. A stingy farmer gets it stingy harvest but since many of us have sown love, laughter, care or blood, sweat, and tears; then as nature does, we must go through the process of seed, time, and harvest.

When we perceive the world as an inherited land, we can see ourselves as both the seed bearers and sowers. Imagine that every obstacle is an opportunity to learn from those who have gone before or time to color outside the lines. There’s a good reason why there are no easy, cookie-cutter answers to specific problems. Notably, those particular issues that test our enduring human spirit. University of Houston’s research professor and empathy advocate, Brené Brown encourages us to “Dare greatly.”

The best-selling author of Without Rival (2016) Lisa Bevere at the recent Confident Woman conference said, “Sometimes you have to stop looking around and look within because you’re supposed to do something that’s never been done before.” She asserts that we are not only unique, we are without rival. Therefore, in our authentic spaces, we bring an essence that can only be imitated but never duplicated.

We are all given something we can give away. Right-living demands we believe that. Right-giving requires a full commitment. Excuses are for wimps. I know that because I’ve held that office for some considerable time, but the ache of floundering snarls and nags at you like an addiction that will not quit till you either leaving as dead or show up as your authentic self. The lyric from the band, United Pursuit’s Let it Happen (2015) says, “You’re full of life now. And full of passion. That’s how he made you. Just let it happen.” Every seed planted in truth will grow, and every tree that shows up will have enough headroom to flourish.

On a practical level, I believe that today’s superheroes are entrepreneurs and visionaries. People with the drive to create, develop, refine, and nurture a crazy idea till it becomes an empire or offering that enriches the lives of others. Risks and profits considered, these are “doing” people. The scary part of the equation is actually doing something, putting something out there. Talk is not only cheap, but it’s also mediocre. It’s like putting your hand to the plow and looking back to the safe zone or the cozy couch –  the place without judgment and expectation – warm as an eagle’s nest to an oversized eaglet.

Let it happen. Verbs are the most potent expressions. They transform any passive line into an active and engaging one involving an action, the responsible party, and a reaction. My verb and doing word is “write, ” and because it comes easy, I often think it’s not valuable to anyone else. Now that’s a partial lie, applicable only to my journaling. Don’t buy into partial lies or let them stunt transformation. Greatness is not handed down, it is cultivated. If I want extraordinary results and life, then I have to work at writing, show up on the field and generously plant words as seeds. To others, the seed may be a new business, a new app, a sketch, a song, or another dance audition.

Final word to me and the wise – “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured to you.”** And that is so you never run or wear out. Find your verb and do it every day you are blessed to see the sunrise.

In service,

AD.

Credits:

Image – Pixabay

2 Corth. 9:8 (MSG)

Luke 6:38 (NIV)

Advertisements

Lessons from Playing Monopoly – When the Game is Over

Monopoly

A few weeks ago, I spent an entire Sunday afternoon playing monopoly with my son and before he rolled the dice, I said, “Honey, remember  you are already valuable, it’s not what you have that determines your worth. Ok? ”

Well, I could have saved my breath because he was completely and irrationally obsessed with acquiring every property his bronze, horse token landed on. If he could buy the jailhouse, he would have. The thrill of acquisition dissipated when his cash reserves ran low and he needed to liquidate properties, houses and hotels to pay rent, bank levies or taxes. Sean, still without guile at thirteen, started bending the rules and kept eyeing the bank vault, trying to keep his game afloat. My strategy was simple – service versus greed. So I set my targets on utilities, railroads and a few choice properties .

In life, we are valuable because God loves us, even before we were born. Our performance or accumulation of things like badges of status will not endear us to Him. His love is sure and does not waver.

monopoly

A life that has meaning does not hold on to riches and its inherent lie that money defines us. There are no tight fists in the casket. People with the intentional posture of opens hands believe in generosity and are channels of God’s goodness and love. Anything you own turns around and possesses you right back. Imagine the aggravation from every dent in your brand new car or the shattered screen of your new iPhone, your obsession with your home security etc.  I agree with Al Watt from  LA Writer’s Lab, “…hold your (story) elements loosely.”

“You have to ask yourself: When you finally get the ultimate possession, when you’ve made the ultimate purchase,when you buy the ultimate home, when you have stored up financial security and climbed the ladder of success to the highest rung you can possibly climb it, and the thrill wears off–and it will wear off–then what?” — John Ortberg

A modified version of a story I heard at a church service goes like this  – A grandson (Pastor John Ortberg) finally beat his grandma at monopoly one weekend after summer vacation and she lauded him,

“I see you’ve finally learnt that this game is requires a 100% commitment to acquisition.”
“Took me a whole summer, but well worth it!” He said, gloating in victory.
“Now you are ready to learn a second lesson – everything goes back into the box.”

Life is a game that ends at some point and player after player – the truck driver asleep at the wheel, a business mogul in a plane crash, a young model with a life of glamor in her sights shot by a jealous boyfriend, a dictator beheaded by rebels (all pretty grim huh?), a grandfather passing away in his sleep… we all go by way of the box, so why stress over stuff?

As King Solomon wisely said, ” All this is vanity…I hated all my labor in which I toiled under the sun, because I must leave it to the man who will come after me. And who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? ” (Proverbs 2:18-19 para.)

That’s why we hold things loosely, and love fiercely. When our game is over, we will not leave this planet with a single penny or one solitary thread.
The Beloved Sean and I now recite this declaration by Bobby Schuller (The Shepherd’s Grove):

I’m not what I do
I’m not what I have
I’m not what people say about me
I’m the beloved of God

That’s who I am and no-one can take that from me…

Lord, lead us by love to our authentic selves.