more than we need

End with less than you started.

That’s the plan for this week.

Less money, less stuff, less something.

While this exercise has the great side effect of begin generous and hopeful that generosity is directed at people in need those aren’t the final goals. At time being generous is all we’re trying to do. Just find ways to make generosity a part of our lives. Sometimes we are finding ways to connect with the marginalized and use our resources to support those who need support.

But this is actually about getting our heads in the right space.

All month we are going to be looking at challenges that centre our priorities. Activities that slowly break down the hold that things in our lives have on us. This week it’s our possessions. It’s our accumulation. It’s our stuff.

Our stuff has a hold on must of us that we don’t even notice. We accumulate and gain as much as we can. It’s money, it’s clothes, it’s whatever.

Our stuff is used to define us. Our stuff gives us security. Our stuff gives us status.

This week we take control of our stuff and say “what do I need and what can I bless someone with.”

generous with your generosity

I hope you’re trying to put some of these weekly challenges into your everyday life. They are a terrific way to get your mind and you actions in line with this life of compassion. It just forces you to see the world a little different and that’s a good thing.

This week I’m asking you to be generous once a day.

Originally I wanted to say “be generous one a day to someone who you think doesn’t deserve it” but there were some problems with that.

What if someone you know was generous with you? Does that mean they think you don’t deserve it? How do you know if someone does or doesn’t’ deserve generosity?

It got a little messy.

There was however a reason I started with it worded that way.

Sometimes we hold back our generosity or are generosity is based on merit.

That person is trying so hard we should give them a hand.

Well I’m not going to help someone who isn’t even trying to help themselves.

They have lots, they don’t need me.

That person is so desperate I need to help them.

We test the validity of the request. We want to make sure they are deserving of our help. That they have earned our generosity somehow.

I didn’t want you to do that. I want you to be obedient to God’s call to be generous with all we have.

So once a day when the opportunity is presented we are just generous. It’s not about someone earning it or deserving it, it’s about grace. The chance to be generous is there and we just take it. We don’t hold back our generosity but we are generous with our generosity.

I know it’s strange to ask you to generous with your generosity but it’s true. We can be really strange about our generosity. Who can and can’t get it. Who does and doesn’t’ deserve it.

This week is simple.

Just be generous. No strings, no earning, no deserving, just generosity.

attention attention

 

On July 28th at 2:14pm our second son Quinn was born.

He’s awesome.

He doesn’t really do anything but he’s still awesome. If you ever meet him you’ll agree.

People look at babies in a really specific way.

There’s the “awwww he’s so cute!” and the “look how delicate he is.”

But in everything they are intriguing to most. There is something about a baby that draws people in. The can just snatch people’s attention.

Attention is a tough thing to get these days.

Business pay million’s try to get our attention and babies simply exist and they are granted undivided attention of the entire group.

Attention is something we control but often don’t think about. We don’t consider the implications of our attention and how we share or give it.

Much like a business all of us push for attention. We want our friends to like our Facebook post and retweet our 140 character thoughts. We want attention in all facets of our lives. I want Sarah to care about my baseball team and my work.

Have you ever met someone who gave you their true undivided attention? There was a doctor my dad had that did this. The man was busy but when he was with us he was WITH us. Never rushed or checking his phone. Just a deep caring look as he listened to our fears and responded with grace and support.

It’s a real skill.

Where is your attention going and where should it go if your life is to be marked by compassion?

this migth suck: part 2

I wrote a while back about motives. It was in the week where we talked about all the reasons we don’t move into the life God has called us to live. If you haven’t check out week 5 (this might suck, only if, beauty and brokenness). I highly recommend it. It’s really important stuff.

But I was thinking again about motives and generosity. I was thinking how I keep encouraging all of you to get into people’s lives, to be generous with your time and your money and to recklessly love people.

I was thinking how I continue to tell you that this is life you were made for, this life of compassion is the life you were meant to live. Life in relationship and community, a life marked by love.

I was wondering though if I may not stress enough a point that I think was best articulated by Bonhoeffer when he wrote “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”

I hope I haven’t given you the impression this is easy. I’ve said before, while it may be simple it’s not easy.

Giving sucks sometimes.

Giving hurts sometimes.

People hurt sometimes.

Relationships hurt sometimes.

There’s that old idea that it’s better to give than receive, and while it may be better it’s not necessarily easier or going to feel better. Sometimes it’s going to feel like it wasn’t worth it.

But we are called to die to ourselves, our desires and be obedient. Obedience isn’t always fun and it is going to require us to do things we don’t want to.

C.S. Lewis wrote “I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditures on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc., is up to the standard common among  those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little.”

I’m asking you to be generous. I’m asking you to live the life you were made to live and it will be better but not necessarily easier. It may have more hurt, more pain but I will also have more depth, more love, more meaning.

Be generous. Give knowing it will hurt and stretch you.

I need to be reminded over and over, I don’t give to get something back. I don’t give for a reaction or praise. I give because God has called me, and you, to this life where we die to ourselves and place others first. Called to be obedient to loving others more than myself.