Tag Archives: generosity

Enjoying the Journey!

I am a task oriented person, and a bit perfectionistic at times as well. It is easy for me to pay more attention to getting something done or getting somewhere than it is being present with those I’m working or traveling with. I’m sure most of you have no idea what I’m talking about!

For about the last month, I’ve been meditating on Jesus’ third statement in the Beatitudes.

Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
(Matthew 5:5 NIV)

Meekness is not weakness. It invokes a spirit of humility, but that’s not all. A definition I’ve been working with lately is “strength that embraces it’s limitations.” At first I approached this definition with the attitude that meekness was the ability to say, “I can’t do everything, but what I can do, I’ll do it well.” But, I began to realize that meekness is also the presence of mind to say, “I don’t need to do everything that I can do well.”

wooded pathAn example that came to mind is that my family and I went on a hike last Saturday. We were at a place that had quite a few trails that led to different points of interest. We didn’t have a map and thought we were going to a specific place, but ended up somewhere else. Since we weren’t exactly sure where we were, we just went back the way we came.

One of my kids said, “Well, this is kind of pointless!” And, he was right. We lacked a spirit of adventure. Our hike turned into a trek from point A to B and then back, instead of enjoying the scenery and the people we were with (our family). It would have been so much more enjoyable if we hiked until we felt we had gone far enough and said, “Let’s see what we can find on the way back!”

Meekness is a complex ideal in regards to wisdom, learning, caring, and being. Meekness can also be simple in its application. It is being true to yourself and those you are with, and enjoying the moments you have together. From there, the potential for fruitful outcomes is endless.

I’ve always wondered why Jesus said that the meek would inherit the earth. I’m realizing that we possess our experiences. We can receive them as an inheritance, not only for ourselves, but also as something we can pass along. Meekness informs how we live our lives so that we can be a blessing to others.

My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will lead us into ways of meekness, so that we will inherit an earth that honors God and those we love and that we would be proud to hand down to those who follow us.

Grace and peace,


If we are made in God’s image, and we are relational beings, then God must be a relational being as well. God is continually communicating with us, if we only have generous ears to what is being spoken.two chairs

Last week we looked at the following passage:

Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are generous*, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are stingy*, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness.” (Luke 11:34)

I feel that the same principle applies to listening as well as seeing. “Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Revelation 2:7, NIV)

I was at a prayer retreat recently where we meditated on Matthew 6:6-8.

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

As we sat quietly with this passage of scripture I was taken aback by my emotional reaction to it. I felt agitated, even angry. There was a visceral rising deep from within my soul. I felt that Jesus’ words were confining my prayer life, almost like my prayers would not count if I didn’t find a quiet and private place to offer my prayers. But, as we shared our thoughts concerning this passage I discovered that most people saw that “go into your room” was quite a flexible phrase and could entail everything from a traditional “quiet time” to taking a moment to be with God during a coffee break or at a stop light.

I initially felt guilty for having such a reaction to the scriptures, but then I remembered the verse in the letter to the Hebrews:

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12 NIV)

I could have stayed with my angry feelings, but then I realized that God was using the scriptures to reveal something that needed to be addressed in my heart. That is, even though God does communicate with us all the time, God also wants us to experience special times when God relates to us as a parent. These special times may be brief or extended, but they are more than a passing acknowledgement. They are moments when we know that our hearts have conversed with God. I came to see that God received my angry thoughts as an invitation to a conversation. God listened to me, then I listened to God. We had a conversation. We were both understood. Our relationship took a step forward that day. I learned that a little listening goes a long way.

Grace and peace,

* The Greek for healthy here implies generous. The Greek for unhealthy here implies stingy. (Luke 11:34 NIV Notes)

Seeing with Generous Eyes

I love how nature surprises us with beauty. Actually, the beauty is there all along, the surprise happens when we pause long enough to recognize it. Like today, while sitting at the park with my family, I looked up and discovered a tree crowned in white blossoms and fresh green leaves. Spectacular!

This reminds me of Jesus’ words,

Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are generous*, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are stingy*, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness.” (Luke 11:34)

Between blossoms and leaves.

Between blossoms and leaves.

I was at a retreat recently where we discussed this passage. Josh Pinkston, who co-led the retreat, helped us to understand that the condition of our eyes has less to do with who/what we are looking at than it does with how we are seeing them. When we look at someone, what do we see, that which divides us or brings us together? This is true with family and friends, people that cross our path, and even God.

When I arrived at the retreat, I realized that the prayer I was carrying on my heart was the refrain of a popular song that goes like this, “Say something. I’m giving up on you.” I won’t go into all the details as to why this was my prayer, but if prayer is talking to God, this is what I was communicating. (e.g.: Psalm 22:1-2)

It was after talking about Jesus words about the generous and stingy eyes, that I realized God had been talking to me all day long through the voices of those around me. If I was not able to see God in them, then the light of my eyes would have truly been darkness, because I would have stayed in the darkness of my initial prayer.

God’s movement is always toward light and life, even if it means walking with us through the darkness. Just as I was surprised today at the beautiful sight of a tree transitioning from blossom to leaf, I was even more surprised at the astounding beauty of God’s love through the people God had placed around me. All it took was a generous eye.

Grace and peace,

* The Greek for healthy here implies generous. The Greek for unhealthy here implies stingy. (Luke 11:34 NIV Notes)

Love as Generosity

Quite often when I write these devotional articles, I am dealing directly with something that I am wrestling with. This week is no exception. In fact, it might be one of my biggest challenges ever, being generous.

A young hand touches and holds an old wrinkled handLast week I wrote about love in action through responsibility. Being responsible is more than just making sure we did our part, that we took care of what was entrusted to us. Being responsible also entails the ability to respond well. To respond well we must be willing to make ourselves present to others. Being present is an act of generosity. Generosity is an act of love.

New Oxford American Dictionary
(of a person) showing a readiness to give more of something, as money or time, than is strictly necessary or expected

As I was thinking of the realms of generosity, I realized that there are at least three: resources, time, and consideration. Generosity is most often attributed to resources, especially money. Secondarily, we think of generosity in terms of time. Lastly, generosity through consideration is probably the most difficult to recognize and realize. When we consider someone we give careful thought concerning them. It is an internal act of generosity. We must make space within ourselves so that we can make a person to person connection on the outside.

Jesus seemed to do this quite well. The story of the Samaritan woman in John 4 comes to mind. First off, Jesus was not put out by her presence. Secondly, he was willing to engage her in conversation, even following her lead. By the end she felt that she made a connection with him. “He told me everything I’ve ever done.” (John 4:39) Jesus’ generosity toward an outcast woman ended up changing her life, not to mention an entire town.

As we think about love, I pray we will also be able to realize the impact of a little generosity, especially when it comes to being present to those around us. As I mentioned above, I am taking this to heart as well.

Grace and peace,