The luxury of giving
One must be poor to know the luxury of giving. (George Eliot)
The luxury of giving - have you ever thought of giving as a 'luxury'? I like how Eliot frames this thought because it points to the extreme need and the appreciation of what is given when it is received. You do realize there is nothing good or noble about giving if there is no real need for what you are giving, don't you? You could give away free trash cans till the cows come home, but if there were no cans or boxes in the pantry to fill the trash cans when emptied to fill a hungry stomach, those trash cans would merely be dust catchers. There is indeed a 'need' - but the need is different from what we are giving, making what is given pretty senseless in the end. For giving to be 'spot on', there must be an awareness of the need - just like when God saw the need for our forgiveness and didn't think twice about providing exactly what was needed to meet that need - his Son.
Those who go to him for help are happy, and they are never disgraced. This poor man called, and the Lord heard him and saved him from all his troubles. The angel of the Lord camps around those who fear God, and he saves them. (Psalm 34:5-7)
Those who go to him - this suggests that the way to have our need met is to actually take it to the one who is going to be able to meet that need. I would not call a brick-layer to fix my garage door opener anymore than I would go to a mechanic to reset a broken bone. The need must be 'matched' with the one capable of meeting the need, right? We 'go to him' and in turn, he responds with what we need the very most - grace. The thing about grace is that it comes in all kinds of forms. Today it could look like a box of groceries to fill your empty stomach, but tomorrow it could look like the touch upon your soul that bolsters your spirit and gives you the courage to step out into new experiences. Grace doesn't have just one 'form'. It comes to us, but first we go to him for it.
There is a conversation about our need - we sometimes forget that acknowledging our need is the first step in getting the help to actually do what needs to be done. I shared that I am in the place of redoing a few things around the house. These projects have been astronomically large - larger than I really wanted to undertake on my own. To say the least, moving all the furniture to get the walls painted is hard enough, but then putting everything back in its place, cleaning up all the 'over-spray dust' left by the paint spraying, this is way more than I can handle alone. So, I reached out to my kids and grandkids to help. Do you know what? They helped me make short order of the 'tearing down' part of the job and I am confident they will help me make short order of the 'putting together' part of this job, as well. Why did they come? I acknowledged my need. There was a day I would have been too stubborn to do that, you know - but I am no longer afraid to ask.
What changed? I think it is the realization that my need and my pride oftentimes are in direct conflict with each other. I need something, but my pride keeps me from asking. How about you? Do you ever have that conflict - afraid to ask because you don't want someone to know how deep your need really is? It took me a long time to get past my pride in life - to ask for help when I needed it - to fully appreciate the 'luxury' of giving and the 'blessing' of receiving. Yesterday, my BFF brought me enchiladas, rice, and an apple-cinnamon muffin. I could have nuked something for my meal, but with all the chaos in the house, she knew I needed that hot meal and that I needed it right when she brought it. Do you know what? The 'luxury' of giving is a blessing. The 'need' we have isn't going to be met if we never acknowledge it. Allow others the 'luxury' of giving - your life will be blessed when you do. Just sayin!