Saturday, August 20, 2011

luke 6:38 a giver, not a taker

I can't help the poor if I'm one of them
Found this little maxim tucked into the pages of the hymnbook a few weeks ago. It was written on the back of a Sacrament meeting program and when I turned to the opening hymn it fell out. Don't know what prompted the insight. Maybe the speaker, a flash of revelation, who knows. But I thought it a great find and my own secret message. It has even made me think of purposely leaving favorite quotes in random places.

This little proverb is a perfect fit for my own personal philosophy and strivings. I don't want to be a taker. I want to be a giver. That's hard to do if we don't have the means, not just financially but in energy and intellect, too. Because most of us put off being givers until that 'someday when I come into money or have accumulated enough'. Only to learn too late that giving is an attitude and not totally dependent on our circumstances and we ought to be doing it as we go along. We can always give something and give with an open heart. And when we do, it comes right back to us in 'good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over'.
I've known quiet givers, people who are generous with their time and money.* Their example inspires me and shows me a better way.

Liking this, too:

Stephen King, America's Boogie-man, spoke at Vassar College as the commencement speaker. He wanted the graduates to think about how they would spend their lives, so the speech took a very personal turn. He told them about a day in 1999, when he was struck by a car and severely injured.

As he lay recovering in a hospital bed and then for months later, he had a lot of time to think about life.

Some of what he told the students at Vassar:

“I’ll tell you one thing you’re not going to do, and that’s take it with you. I’m worth many millions of dollars, and a couple of years ago, I found out what ‘you can’t take it with you’ means.”

“I found out while I was lying in the ditch at the side of a country road, covered with mud and blood and with (a badly broken leg). I had a Master Card in my wallet, but when you’re lying in the ditch with broken glass in your hair, no one accepts Master Card.”

“We all know that life is ephemeral..., but on that particular day and in the months that followed, I got a painful but extremely valuable look at life’s simple backstage truths: We come in naked and broke. We may be dressed when we go out, but we’re just as broke.

And how long in between? Just the blink of an eye.”

And then he said:

Of all the power which will shortly come into your hands, the greatest is undoubtedly the power of compassion, the ability to give.

We have enormous resources in this country - resources you yourselves will soon command - but they are only yours on loan.”

“I came here to talk about charity, and I want you to think about it on a large scale.

Should you give away what you have? Of course you should.

I want you to consider making your lives one long gift to others, and why not? All of you want to get at the getting place, but none of that is real. All that lasts is what you pass on. The rest is smoke and mirrors.”

Finally, he said,

“I give because it’s the only concrete way I have of saying that I’m glad to be alive and that I can earn my daily bread doing what I love. Giving is a way of taking the focus off the money we make and putting it back where it belongs - on the lives we lead, the families we raise, the communities which nurture us.”

The whole speech worth reading.

*I happen to live with one. Yup, I do.

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