Giving. Our next Lenten challenge. Oh, I know I should say our next Lenten activity, but face it, developing a “behavior of giving” can be quite challenging.
So, what does it mean “to give”? In checking with my friend, Webster, as a verb it means “to freely transfer, cause, allow, or provide”; as a noun, it refers to “the capacity to bend or alter in shape under pressure”.
This is powerful stuff and takes giving to a whole different level! Think about it for a moment. If I give something to another person or to a cause, but do not give it from a place or stance of freedom, then my giving is empty and falls short of the hands that reach out to receive it. And if my giving does not cause me to “bend or be altered in shape” what good is my giving?
Giving is an act that should stretch and deepen the giver, sometimes beyond a level of comfort. It becomes a lived virtue only after much practice and effort, and only when it creates in us the “capacity to bend under pressure”.
Lent is a great time to focus on the meaning of giving and an even better time to be stretched in in our efforts. Do you mindlessly toss a few dollars into the collection basket at church or write a check when a local charity calls for help and call it good? Have you ever thought about taking the next step in the realm of giving by offering the gift of yourself? Giving means to “freely transfer, cause, allow, or provide” and can that not include your own gifts and talents?
In giving of ourselves, we learn something new about ourselves. We gain insight into who we are and what our true potential is. We might even discover gifts we did not know we had hidden.
Take some time to reflect on this new concept of giving. How is God calling you to share the gifts you have been given? Ask God to use you in ways you have not yet imagined and to stretch you a bit beyond your comfort zone.
We just engaged in seven days of “fasting” and I’m sure this daily activity gave cause for mind reshaping and spirit bending! It’s not easy to fast from something we want or need or desire, but it does hold a much deeper meaning when we do it with intention. Our Live Lent calendar lists suggestions for engaging in the act of fasting—how did your efforts go? Did you experience a sense of freedom or openness? Is it a practice you would like to continue developing?
Each of us has the capacity to engage in prayer, to embrace efforts of fasting, and to give freely of our alms, time, and talent. That capacity "is gift" from a very generous creator. When we freely give from who we are, it is then that the behavior of giving has been developed. Hopefully, this Lenten journey awakens you to a deeper reliance upon God and the desire to give of yourself.
How is God calling you to be a generous giver?
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