Open Hands, Open Heart

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Retail store checkout lines are dangerous for me. Yes, I’m one of those people who succumb to “last minute” purchases on items that are so conveniently located near the cash register. Case in point, recently I ran into Hobby Lobby to grab a few party decorations, and I came out with three new books – which of course, I didn’t really need.

Well actually, maybe I did need one of them.  It was a book by the owner of Hobby Lobby, David Green called Giving It All Away…And Getting It All Back Again, The Way of Living Generously. It is the powerful story of how he started Hobby Lobby, but more importantly, it is about living with open hands and an open heart.

As I read his story, I began to think about the many things that I tend to hold a little too tightly to in my life. Things like my time, my plans, my money, my stuff, my opinions, my resentments.  Just like Jennifer Garner so eloquently says on the Capital One commercials,  “What’s in your wallet?” I suppose we could all ask ourselves, “What’s in my clenched fists?”

The interesting thing is, if we are going to reflect God’s attributes in our lives, we are compelled to be generous because He is generous. He is generous in love, in wisdom, in grace and in mercy. He is generous in giving us good gifts and blessings every day. Most important He is generous in salvation, giving His only Son as a sacrifice for our sins. Oh what a generous God we serve!

Here’s what’s truly beautiful – God is generous with His Spirit who enables us to live generously. Admittedly, I’m not so great at loving and giving in my own strength and will power, but God is! We can ask Him to open our hearts and our hands to living in a giving way.

Three practical and positive action points to ponder:

Realize: God is a generous God. His Spirit helps us to be generous. Realize that everything belongs to Him anyway.

Repent: Let’s begin to identify the things that we are holding with clenched fists (time, talent, treasures, unforgiveness, anger, opinions, plans, etc…). Confessing these things to God helps our heart begin to change.

Release: Finally, let’s open our hands and release those things. Let’s ask God to fill our hearts with generosity and  also ask Him to show us where to love, serve and give.

Make it a generous week this week!

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Engage Note:  There are many opportunities to give of your time, treasures and talents. If you would like to give to Engage Positive Parenting Initiative, reaching families in adverse circumstances with discussion-based parenting classes, you can click here to donate. If you are interested in volunteering, please visit our website at www.EngageParenting.com

 

Photo by Ethan Robertson on Unsplash

True Positive: Day 16 – Helping Others

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Feeling blue? Consider doing something kind for someone else. It may be volunteering at a hospital or a dog shelter or at a local school. You could write a letter to someone who needs encouragement or cook a meal for someone who could use some help or even bring groceries to someone who can’t get out right now. When we reach out to help others, thinking of their needs, it gets our mind off of our own stuff and actually gives us a feeling of joy. Although our motivation for doing things for others shouldn’t be to please ourselves, it is a natural consequence and an added blessing.

A team of sociologist tracked a group of 2000 people over a 5-year period and discovered that those who described themselves as “very happy” also volunteered at least 5.8 hours per month.  Of course, there could be a number of reasons for this, but researchers believe that showing compassion gives people a neurochemical sense of reward as an emotional boost. For more benefits to helping others click here. Jesus spoke about showing kindness and love even to our enemies. He said, “Give and it will be given back to you, a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, it will be poured into your lap.”

Take one step today to reach out in kindness to another person.

Photo by Madi Robson on Unsplash