Proverbs 21 verse 25 and 26 read, ‘The craving of a sluggard will be the death of him, because his hands refuse to work.
All day long he craves for more, but the righteous give without sparing.’

Okay, so my hand is up again, but this time i think it’s a good thing.

Giving generously is a way in which we can show Love well. In fact when I read the words “without sparing” the idea that it conjured up for me is “pull out all the stops and don’t hold back when it comes to giving.”

What i have learnt in life is that generosity breeds generosity – i tend to be someone who is generous when it comes to money [maybe easier when you don’t have so much] and possessions, but when i look back, i think i am that way because i have had incredible generosity shown to me.

When my laptop went flying off the side of a mountain during proposal 1 [of 2] to tbV, my best friend Rob gave me the money he had been saving for his new laptop so i could replace mine. Our friend formerly Emo Kev [now dreadlocked Kev] gave us a sizeable chunk of his money to help us plan our wedding. My younger sister Dawn flew all the way from the UK to be with us on the day at much expense. When we were trusting in God for the next thing for our lives which turned out to be living and being involved at the Simple Way, our friend Tim phoned up one day and offered to pay our rent for the month. And my friends Steve and Anne gave us an insane donation that helped us to be able to afford the tickets to fly here. [and so many more stories and people, i can’t even mention them – generally what i have found, like with my buddy Reegs and others, is often those that have little or nothing are the ones who are the most generous]

i am reminded of the story of Cain and Abel in the bible and the idea that Abel gave of his best to God whereas from God’s response you get the impression that Cain kind of gives the left overs, and jealousy and murder quickly follow…

Paul continues this idea in his letter to the Philippians which reads:

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God
something to be used to his own advantage;

rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

[chapter 2 verse 5-8]

And so we see that God, in Jesus, held nothing back, and we are encouraged to continue in the same vein.

When it comes to giving, i think we often think primarily of money, but time, energy and talent-sharing are all important things which we can offer unsparingly which can totally transform someone else’s life or day or even just moment…

And it makes me want to be generous. And hopefully if and when i am, that makes the recipients of my generosity want to pass it on all the more.

But when it comes to Love, i would say there is a further experience of this, and this is something i am hoping to get a lot more right. When you give in a relationship, and particularly in marriage, the temptation can be to keep score – i gave so now you must give and then i will give again – and this is not love at all [as much as Love should not keep a record of wrongs, it is an incredible thing for Love to not keep a record of rights!] And so i want to develop into a husband that outgives my wife… not because it is any kind of competition, and not for any kind of reward. Simply, because i feel that becomes a natural consequence of Love. If i Love you, how can i not give my best and want to give more.

Kind of like God, in Jesus.

as i give without sparing, may it encourage those around me to discover their own creative ways of being generous.

may we become better at Love as we embrace this idea and start to see it more at work in our lives.

do you relate?

[to look at the next part on Answering without Arguing, click here]