Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Lent Thoughts: On Giving Freely and Abundantly

Our Lenten Study Circle has been focusing on "Tools" this week, and my co-leader's post today was just awesome. Her post made me think of the things I keep around, that clutter my home and my heart and my head.

I'm ready to toss the baggage in my life (material and emotional) that serves me no purpose. Some of it sits there and makes me feel guilty. Some of it could bless someone else if I gave it away, some of it was given to me by people no longer in my life but I feel compelled to keep it because there's an old memory I'm afraid I'll lose if that "thing" is gone. I don't necessarily treasure the "thing" but the gift giver or once-owner or situation in which I acquired the item (hellloooo college T-shirts, I'm looking at you). Or there's that pile of stuff I don't need but is "worth something" (copper planter sitting in the garage) so in my own perfectionism I keep it, thinking I'll put it on eBay or craigslist, but oh no, not "give" it away, it's valuable!

Mausoleum at Cathedral of Christ the LightThe irony to me is that while I don't use them, some are even kept from Goodwill because they are "too nice" to give away. That seems absurd, but I am sure I am not the only person who has a pile of "nice" things that I don't use, but can't quite part with. I'll admit that recently I've started to feel at odds about keeping those items around, they could bless someone else, bring joy to someone else's life.

It also makes me grateful that God does not have this same sense, this odd idea that I seem to have that good things shouldn't just be given away, but should be kept, their worth weighed in the balance before I decide if I should "give" them away.

Instead, God is in the habit of giving away the most precious of gifts. The gifts of our life, and of love. Even the life of his own Son. These are gifts that easily could have been deemed "too good" to share with anyone else, yet God granted them to each of us. There's no garage sale, no price, just ours for free with the only requirement that we love Him and each other.

I feel like I need to reconsider the way I give, what I give, and to whom I give things, and take God's example to heart. Love is at the heart of what He's given, and this is the example that we have on how to give. I'm struck by it's abundance, it's totality. And I'm reminded of Rumi's poem on love:

Love is recklessness, not reason.
Reason seeks a profit.
Love comes on strong, consuming herself, unabashed.

Yet in the midst of suffering,
Love proceeds like a millstone,
hard surfaced and straight forward.

Having died to self-interest,
she risks everything and asks for nothing.
Love gambles away every gift God bestows.
Without cause God gave us Being;
without cause, give it back again.

Sharing with: Joy in this Journey


Shanda said...

I love this idea: that God gives away the very best of him. We struggle, in our human nature, to do that. Thank you for linking to On Your Heart Tuesday. I will put your blog hop button on my Blog Hop Page and be back tomorrow to link up!

caryjo said...

My husband and I go through our house every once in a while and see what needs to go to others. Since I'm involved with local refugees, and have international kids and grandkids in Uganda, I need to send things over to them occasionally. I also have already given away a few items that I would give them when I die. Have a fair amount of stuff... but always willing to give. It is an absolutely amazing blessing!

Michelle DeRusha said...

I can relate to your struggle with stuff. A few months ago I finished a year of not shopping, and those 12 months helped changed my perspective on need vs. want - it was a good (but challenging!) experience!

Stopping by from Jen's Soli Deo party...nice to meet you here!

3dlessons4life said...

Love this line: "Love gambles away every gift God bestows." -- Thanks for reminding me that I need to let go and partner with Him in freely giving. Great post!

Paula said...

Thank you all for stopping by :) That line ("Love gambles away every gift God bestows.") is one of my favorites, ever. It's both a challenge and a reminder, it seems. I can't get over the idea of giving away love so abundantly and so altruistically ...

Anne said...

This is a good reminder for us not to tire giving as He gives and to love as He loves. Lovely post!

Denise said...

Such a great idea.

Branson said...

I am all about giving things away lately! The book Abundant Simplicity has been my inspiration so far this year, and I am enjoying both blessing others and not being so weighted down with possessions!

Paula said...

Branson - I'll check out that book - thank you for suggesting it :)