Friday, July 22, 2011

Give-away brings surprise blessings

It was a clear and warm day in Daleville on July 10, 2011.  The clouds didn’t start rolling in until around 5:00 p.m. and by that time the heat had already accomplished its task:  it made the air pretty miserable.  By noon it was 93 and by 4:00 p.m. it would just top 100 degrees.   Things were moving pretty slowly around here on that day – except for God.  God was still at work coming up with all sorts of ideas and inspirational ways that we can serve Him.  
On that day, as I slowly walked from the house to the playhouse, Barnabas lagging behind with his tongue panting faster than his heartbeat, God impressed upon me to begin to give away my books.  Give away my books?  I love my books!  Some I’ve carried from Florida to Pennsylvania to California to Mississippi!  My beloved books?  As I thought about it I realized that most have been sitting on the shelf having been read only once but I still continue adding more. 

Why are they sitting there?  They were created to be read!  Instead of putting them in places where they can fulfill what they were created to do, I’ve been keeping them to myself!  It is not helping anyone!  They are not being read and I have to create storage places!

God gave me the idea to start giving them away through my Facebook friend network.  I have some books listed on for sale, but they are not my treasures!  The giveaway books are the ones whose authors were somehow used by God to touch me and to even heal me.

One recipient shared that, as God would have it, he received a book on Hebrews by Andrew Murray just at the time he was starting to lead a study on Hebrews at his church in Texas.  There must be something in that book that God wants the people in that study to hear today!  I LOVED hearing that!  I felt that God used me to help support His work in Texas even as I sit in Mississippi! 

This experience is making me wonder what other things in my life, talents/skills or material possessions, I am holding onto that are supposed to be given away FOR others?  I like that – FOR others.  Not necessarily giving it away TO others, but FOR others.  Perhaps those things we are holding as treasures are actually a blessing FOR someone who is just waiting, yearning FOR the touch of God. 
I must admit that when I gazed upon my books I considered myself pretty wealthy.  I had all this knowledge, all of these inspirational writings, these acts of God put to paper – and it was all mine.  Oh how they challenged me, fed me, encouraged and blessed me.  How book-wealthy I had become. 
Proverbs 3:9 says to “honor the Lord with your wealth”.  Giving in itself can bring about amazing riches.  Giving reminds me that God is the Owner of everything in my life.  Giving allows people to experience God’s creative care and provisions in ways they would not otherwise experience.  Giving encourages the spiritual growth and trust in God of our brothers and sisters.  

By 8:00 p.m. it finally cooled off to an even 85 degrees.  The clouds covered much of the sky, sure to block our vision of God’s endless heavens. Just up the road in Meridian, MS, at what was the Old Carnegie Library building, some people were still gazing at the artwork as the reception for the People’s Choice Art Competition was coming to an end.  Some people lagged behind, still weary of leaving the cool building to walk outside in to the heat and humidity of the evening.  Many people passed through there that day, some voting on their favorite art works.  But all the pieces of art work were given away – given away to the museum for showing, for sharing, for enriching the lives of others.  The artists have no idea who they touched or in what way.  Their inspiration for art simply shared with nameless others.  

And in Daleville the shadows of the vacation Bible school lay in the local church building, some of it drifted into the yard, the signs proclaiming ‘all are invited’.  The store was lit but not many people were passing through its doors this evening.  The quilting squares from the Women’s Quilting Group lay about in their respective places waiting patiently to become part of an even greater masterpiece.

As Barnabas and I made our way back to the house to prepare for another evening I felt energy beneath my feet – as if it were carrying me on to my next task.  Giving to others FOR their enrichment, inspiration, and prayerfully FOR their closer walk with our Creating God…thank you, God for giving me the gift of the ability to give to others. 

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