First off, let me say that Irma is no friend of mine!
Nice Irma….. Nasty Irma….
We have some small and large branches down all around the house (nothing damaging the house or porch), a few roof shingle tabs that blew off (nothing serious) and the large Bougainvillea that is on the side of the house has nearly every leaf and flower blown off- it looks more like a skeleton of a large bush than a bush. 🙂
Power is back on (lost it sometime around 0200 and it came back around 1015) but there is no water due to the many mains which have broken. I hope the water comes back soon. Overall, the worst is done- just windy and an occasional shower left behind, but I am leaving most of the plywood up in case the next one, Jose, wants to make trouble, also.
Because I have power and today is a day for blogging, let’s not waste the blessing God has provided and get down to today’s message.
I was reading Dear Abby the other day and read a letter from someone saying they receive a present from friends which is always a hand-colored picture from a coloring book. They always get a different hand-colored picture each time there is an event where people exchange gifts. The writer was complaining that this is all they get, and they wanted to know how to tell the givers not to give these anymore.
Abby said to accept the gift graciously, then do whatever they wanted to with it. I agree with the first part of her answer, but the second part disturbed my spirit because it doesn’t address the real issue, which isn’t about the gift at all, but is all about the attitude of the people receiving the gift.
I am somewhat proud to say that even before I knew the Lord, I still thought that when someone gives a gift they should do so because they wanted to give a gift, and not in expectation of receiving something as nice (or nicer) back. Gift giving should be that- giving. Not expecting a return on investment, not requiring an invitation to their party because you invited them to yours, and certainly not expecting that the gift has to be used or given any special consideration. We should give a gift because we want to give a gift. That’s all there should be to it.
The people in the article didn’t appreciate the meaning behind the hand-colored pictures, and only saw the “thing” they received. They (apparently) expected better, maybe something prettier or more expensive, or more useful. In this, they were exhibiting what the world expects- eye for eye, gift for gift, invitation for invitation. I give only so that I will receive.
This is called Altruism: for instance, in the animal world bats are altruistic in that they will care for and feed the sick among them, knowing that if they become sick they will be fed. In human circles this is expected, but I believe humans should be above that; we should not be altruistic in our relationships, we should be philanthropic.
Yeshua teaches that if someone asks for a shirt, give your cloak as well, or if they ask to carry their pack for a mile, carry it for two miles ( Matthew 5:40; Luke 6:29-30) because we are to give without expectation of receiving back.
God has made covenants with us, in which there is an exchange, but the most important things God gives us, namely Grace, salvation, and forgiveness, He gives without expectation of receiving anything back.
My answer to the writer of this letter would have been to accept the gift graciously, then take the one they liked best, frame it and put it in a conspicuous place in their house. This way they will constantly look at it, and maybe it will be a reminder that they are blessed to have friends who don’t want to just “give something” but want to give of themselves in the gift. Maybe by recognizing the love and compassion behind the simple gift they will become more compassionate and loving, themselves.
Do what is right, and do it for the right reasons. Never give in expectation of receiving. Even if someone is constantly unappreciative and never gives you anything, don’t refuse to give to them. When it comes to giving, we should follow the pattern of the Golden Rule: Gift unto others what you would like to receive yourself.