Giving to Live

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“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,

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Credits:

Image – Pixabay

2 Corth. 9:8 (MSG)

Luke 6:38 (NIV)

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Living Out The Plan

Living out the plan

There’s got to be one. A plan that is  – for my life and yours, otherwise why are we still occupying precious space on this crazy earth, breathing without effort. If there was a Garden of Eden for Adam and Eve, a head-strong mother and a wicker basket set among the reeds in the crocodile-ridden Nile river for Moses, and the *Magi who fascinated by a lone star in the sky, travelled thousands of miles laden with gifts for a baby boy born in a filthy manger, surely God designed a unique destiny for each of us before we showed up wrinkled, loud and cranky.

Some have retained those loud and cranky traits because sometimes, life simply sucks! On a conscious level we acknowledge the strain of our journey but it helps to go deeper and not stay at the level of frustration when our carefully crafted plans crumble. There is this inner gnawing, an acute distress and emptiness when we are not living out the plan. God has a good plan, for each person as unique and distinct as our fingerprints to bring us out into a wealthy place. (Psalm 66:12)

Living out the plan

My loving mother was always ahead of the times. In elementary  school, she got us monogrammed tee-shirts. This was the eighties, so it was a big deal. I don’t know if any of my four siblings remember that afternoon surprise, but the message on my shirt – Future Hope  –  stuck with me. Mom was inspired by the promise that God’s plan for us are good and leads us to an expected end. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Remember that as God’s children we are not left to figure out or do life on our own – that helps put our successes and even failures in the right perspective. We can live out His plan for us if we:

  • Connect with the Source of our life-plan – time spent with God either in prayer, worship or meditation is never a waste. Looking back I wonder how much pain I could have avoided if I just sought His way and ideas first (Matthew 6:33). God should not be our last resort.
  • Build up faith by considering His word and promises – the game of life is won or lost not based on the events themselves but on our interpretation of them. Whose opinion or report will you believe?
  • Trust and obey – sometimes like Moses, we’ll be instructed by God to grab a proverbial snake by the tail. God’s ways are unusual, mysterious, creative but always in line with His word.

living out the plan

God leads by revelation and illumination, we learn by experience.  We’ll sometimes fail but are not left to pick up the pieces alone.  In living out the plan, there’s more than at stake than what we see or perceive – it’s about changing  the world.  Someone on assignment is the one making a difference.
For more resources about living out the plan for your life, check out Rick Warren’s books – “The Purpose Driven Life” and “What On Earth Am I Here For?” Shalom.

*Magi – the “wise men” from the East who brought gifts to the infant Jesus (Matt. 2:1), said in later tradition to be kings named Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar who brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Images: Pixabay/Google.