Fortunate are the CHEERFUL Givers

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IN THE BOOK OF ACTS, Paul quoted Jesus as having said that it is more blessed to give than receive but how can this be? The word “blessed” here was originally “makarios,” which means to be fortunate. So Paul and Jesus were saying the giver is more fortunate than the receiver. But doesn’t it seem like that the more you have, the more “blessed” you are?

GIVERS ARE HAPPIER IN LIFE

A 2002 survey of 30,000 Americans showed that those who gave to charity, whether financially or in the form of volunteer work, were far happier than non-givers. It is almost like the more you give away cheerfully, the more you have to give away. The cheerful aspect is a HUGE component in all of this. If a person gives out of a sense of obligation and resentment, no happiness comes to them from it and they are robbed of their “blessing” or status of being fortunate.

WHEN WE ARE CHEERFUL, WE ARE ALSO COURAGEOUS

Giving is an act of courage and courage is an act of faith. Jesus told his disciples, “Be of good CHEER.” The word cheer here literally translates into ancient Greek as COURAGE. So, every time we choose to be cheerful, we demonstrate an act of courage.

The great speaker, Wayne Dyer, said that one of the secrets to having contentment in life was to want more for others than you want for yourself, to wish good on them more than you wish it upon yourself. He said that if you want peace in your life, then wish for and pray for others to have peace. If you have an addiction and want to be free of it, wish for, pray for and hope for others to be free from addiction. If you wish to be financially blessed, want others to be even more so. Living this way requires courage and brings joy.

That seems so contradictory to the “me first” mentality of greed. But if the whole world, or even 20% of the world, lived by those rules then there would be far less pain in the world, far less need. Instead of struggling to survive, people could explore and learn and there is no telling what the human mind and spirit could accomplish. It would be like the thousand years spoken of by Isaiah the Prophet where people beat their swords into plowshares and instead of killing each other, they feed each other. Instead of stealing from each other, they give to each other. Sounds like a good place to live to me. I believe greed is born of fear and giving is born of courage.

CHEEFUL GIVING IS A DEMONSTRATION OF LOVE

One could say that giving is how I Am demonstrates love toward us. Jesus, in speaking to Nicodemus said, “For God so loved the world that He gave….” He gave. When the Israelites were wandering in the desert God gave them water. God gave them food. They got fearful and greedy and tried to hoard it so it spoiled on them (because they tried to circumvent one of the spiritual laws of the universe), but nevertheless, he GAVE. Giving is the nature of God. The true nature of the Great I Am. Giving is an extension of love and according to John, God is Love. (1 John 4:8)

GIVING DEMONSTRATES CONFIDENCE IN GOD’S ABILITIES

Our willingness to give demonstrates our view of I Am’s ability to provide for us. If we hoard and are fearful of tomorrow, of not having enough, we communicate that we doubt there are enough “riches in glory” to provide for our needs. Being fearful of giving demonstrates a lack of confidence in God’s approval of and love of us, in LOVE’s identity. In demonstrate doubt in I Am’s, Jehovah Jireh’s, the Almighty Source’s, Klongliwiha, The Great Spirit’s, He Who Never Dies’, ability to provide what we need when we need it. Jesus addressed this by talking about the birds of the air and the lilies of the fields. That doesn’t mean we should never have a bank account or a savings plan, only that we not be so stingy that we can’t “share” out of our abundance.

The Tao Te Ching talks about how the wise person, the person of virtue, gives out of his or her abundance or excess. If I have two coats, I can afford to give one away without being fearful of life without that extra coat because I might “need it someday.” The key to being fortunate, in all areas of life, according to Jesus, Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Lao Tzu, Apostle Paul, Saint John, Saint Francis, Wayne Dyer, the Dali Lama and every other spiritually attuned deity, person or teacher, is to cast fortune on others. They can’t ALL be wrong!

GIVING IS CONTAGIOUS

I love the movie, Pay it Forward, where the little boy comes up with the idea of doing good deeds for others with “pay back” being “paying forward.” I give to you and you don’t pay me back, you give to someone else. I do good to you and you do good for someone else.

So many people give but secretly, subconsciously, keep score and hidden contracts with the thought somewhere in the back of their minds, “I’ve done this for him (or her) now he will do things my way.” That’s not giving. That’s bartering. I’ve heard so many people say, “I can’t believe he’d do that after ALL I’VE DONE FOR HIM.” Or “Can you believe she said that to me after how nice I’VE BEEN TO HER?” These are hidden contracts. If you give expecting performance, you’ve already missed the boat. Giving should be for the soul purpose of making another’s life a little better. If you don’t WANT to give for the pure joy of doing it, then you’re better off not to give at all. Paul said to give cheerfully, no begrudgingly. Expect nothing in return and receive everything from a Source far greater than you can imagine.

SOMETHINGS ARE SO EASY TO GIVE

A smile, the touch of a hand, a word of encouragement, a note, a card, a smiley face, a cup of coffee, a piece of fruit, a moment of laughter, a joke. It merely takes an act of courage, of getting outside ourselves, and being a cheerful giver.

***MY SHAMELESS PROMOTION CAMPAIGN—I’ve written a new novel and I want to GIVE it to others, so I’ve made it available online here: https://walkabouthenovel.wordpress.com The ONLY thing I want in return is for YOU to read it and enjoy it:) Oh, and if you want to share it with others, that’s okay, too. Every writer wants readers, every painter wants viewers, every cook wants people with appetites…when you do what you love and love what you do, you just want to share it.

Remembering Lisa

Lisa was 97 years old when I worked at the center for the elderly. She always sat in the chair by the door with a romance novel in her lap. I commented on her love of romance one day and she said, “I’m old, but I’m still human.”

I squatted beside her chair; her eyes sparkled. “When you grow old,” she said, “you don’t stop being human. You don’t stop having feelings or having dreams.” She shrugged, “I’m nearly a hundred, but as long as I am in this world, I have hopes.”

She then spoke of what it was like to have people look at her as if she weren’t in her right mind, because she was elderly and what it was like to have others think she needed someone to make decisions for her. She told me of how it wounded her pride to be treated like she was senile when she wasn’t, of how people just assumed that because she was old, she had somehow stopped having any pride or emotions or feelings of self-worth or that she deserved pretty things. Then spoke of how she had served as a nurse in WWII and how she had paid her dues for her country. She was a veteran. She told me of how she had come from the Choctaw Nation and she was an American of all Americans.

She asked me for hot cocoa and told me the special way she liked it. I went in the kitchen to make it and the young worker in there said, “You making chocolate for Lisa? She won’t like it. She’ll send you back. That old bitty can’t be satisfied.”

But I made it exactly as Lisa had told me to make it and if she had asked me to redo it, I would have done so. I sat beside her and listened to more stories until I had to go attend to another matter. Daily, I listened to Lisa’s stories and I read manuscripts from 80 year olds with dreams of becoming writers and I discovered something that I hope every 30 year-old will soon discover, age is nothing. Our spirits, the real us, are ageless, eternal.

Lisa at 97 was the same Lisa who had done all of those amazing things in her 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s. Lisa, at 97, was more mentally clear and intelligent than that 30 year-old who called her an old bitty. It is a foolish person who writes someone off because of age or appearance. She wasn’t any more demanding than I would have been in her shoes. Who wants to eat tasteless food and drink watered down hot cocoa? She wasn’t hard to please, she just wanted to be treated with dignity and respect. I don’t know what ever happened to Lisa. I’m sure she’s gone by now or else she is 115 years old, which isn’t impossible, but I doubt she’s still with us. Still, at 97, she taught me a thing or two about life and I am forever grateful for the two summers I spent working at the center and the insights I gained into human nature.

 

2010 Ramblings about Wisdom,Purpose and the Spirit World

**Another post I found here in my drafts. I apparently, never finished it. It’s dated 2010. It sort of just leaves off in the midst of a train of thought, but I decided to post it anyway….

I think I’ve spent my whole life trying to communicate, to truly connect with others. This connection can’t be made in a materialistic way and it crosses all racial, cultural, gender and economic barriers.

I think I’ve always been trying to say what can’t be said with mere words, seeking a pure communication of the heart. I remember a co-worker once telling saying of me that I “always spoke my heart.” I responded with, “Is there another way to speak?”

I believe it was Like Ironweed who  said, “You must speak straight so that your words may go like arrows to the sun.” I’ve tried to speak straight, to speak my true heart and to be true to what I believed. I think that perhaps in matters of style I have often wavered and changed course, but in matters of spiritual truth (not religion for there is an enormous difference between spirit truth and religious traditions forced upon others by those in authority) I have remained steadfast.

What matters to me most is spiritual truth and in knowing those spiritual truths, how we treat one another as human beings. So often the words we use are clumsy and get in the way of what we really want to say. Edgar Cayce, an American psychic, is quoted as having said that God put artists on the earth to act as windows to the spirit world. But in order for a window to offer a clear view, it has to be clean. I believe it was King David who prayed, “Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me.” I wish for a pure spirit, a spirit without malice or intent to do harm or take advantage of others, a heart that doesn’t want to manipulate or control, a heart that sees the good in others, even when it’s not obvious.

I have long believed that my entire purpose for living in this world was to be a conduit, a window, to the spirit world.  There is a way of wisdom and I long to walk in it. I’d rather be wise than beautiful. I’d rather be wise than famous. I’d rather be wise than wealthy. Once, when I was thirteen, I prayed that above all else, above beauty, above talent, above wealth, that I would be wise.

The spirit world is all around us every day. It is in the pond, it is in the rain and wind, in a baby’s giggle, a kitten’s purr, the night songs of the crickets, early spring peepers, because it’s in us if we chose to listen. In the spirit way, ordinary things are sacred and blessed and are of far more value than all the man-made things combined. The spiritual laws is the WAY in which we should conduct our lives in order to obtain true satisfaction, which is far above what the world deems as successful. It is the way is the way of kindness, forgiveness, love, selflessness, compassion, mercy, endurance, patience, understanding…everything that is good and lovely and worth thinking about. It is the way of the spiritual warrior.

The spirit world does not operate on the same value system as the laws of the materialist world and for that reason, the person who choses to walk the spirit way will often be misunderstood by those who value the material world most….