Give to Everyone Who Asks

Meditations in Motion

I ran with a teaching friend yesterday. She did not have school due to the Columbus Day holiday and kindly asked me if I wanted to run with her. She and I used to run at close to the same speed and we ran together often. Then my pace slowed and I retired and we ran together less. Yesterday was a “bonus” run for her, a day that she normally would not have run at all, so I felt less guilty about slowing her down.

Coming back from my hip injury has been slow, sometimes painful work. I have a certain speed in my mind that I “should” be able to run. No one really knows or cares how fast I run except me. I do not have a Garmin. I am not on Strava. I don’t usually post my times or mileage on social media. But I care. I know it’s crazy, but I felt like had a good run yesterday because I hit this artificial, self-imposed goal.

We returned to my friend’s house after the run for a chat and a glass of ice-cold water. As I was leaving, I remarked on the beautiful chrysanthemums she had sitting on her front porch. She told me that her neighbor had given them to her, then told me that her neighbor is a giver. “I guess that makes me a taker“, she laughed.

Mediatation in Motion

In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. My friend is generous and kind, often volunteering her time and talents freely and willingly. After she heard about my hip injury, she brought me a bouquet of beautiful flowers in a big Mason jar. They were gorgeous. My spirits were raised every time I looked at them.

Her comment made me think about generosity, something I ponder frequently. I am always impressed by acts of generosity and kindness. As I was growing up, generosity was something I took for granted. I did not realize at the time I had the world’s best role model for generosity- my mom.

There is a difference between performing generous acts and being a generous person. My mom did both. A person can perform generous acts for lots of reasons – a feeling of obligation, commitment to doing the right thing, guilt, even to look good in the eyes of others.

A generous person cannot help but do generous acts. They are generous because their hearts are overflowing with love. Their generosity comes from a place of abundance. That was my mom.

I cannot begin to list all of her generous acts in this space, but I will describe just a few I remember from my childhood. Living across the street and next door to us when I was a kid were two older widows. Neither of these women could drive. My mom did all their grocery shopping for them, transported them to doctor’s appointments and took them to visit relatives and to church.

Meditations in Motion

When I was old enough to mow our lawn, I was also instructed to mow our neighbors’ lawns. For free. And I had to use a push mower – the kind with no motor. One of the widows didn’t like the way a motorized rotary mower cut her grass. I am sure I grumbled about this horrible injustice, but I now realize my mom’s motive was to teach me generosity and kindness.

Mom’s generosity was organic. It came from love. She could no more stop being generous than she could stop loving her family, friends, and yes, even cantankerous old neighbors. She is forever my real-life heroine and a good example of spontaneous generosity.

Most people are familiar with the Biblical verse from Luke where Jesus instructs his followers to “Do to others as you would have them do to you“. Less well known is the verse that immediately precedes it “Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.

Meditations in Motion

Give to everyone who asks you. I have tried to live this way and let me tell you, it is hard! This means I must give to every homeless person I meet on the street, I must respond to every request for funds I get in the mail, and, when I was teaching, donate to every student who asked me (and teachers are asked to donate to worthy causes all the time.)

I often fall short of this command. My lack of comfort and unwillingness to sacrifice put limits on my generosity. No one ever said it would be easy.

I think I must first work on emptying myself of my self. To increase generosity, I must expand the empty places in my heart so they can be filled with love. I must get rid of selfishness, self-pride, and self-importance. My goal, always, is to allow God’s light and love to shine through me. If I make room in my heart so it can be full of love, generosity will naturally flow.

Whenever I am in doubt about what course of action to take, I can always ask myself “What would Mom do?“, and I will have the answer before I am even finished phrasing the question. Here is the thing about Mom: she not only gave to everyone who asked, she gave before she was asked. I want to be just like Mom. Even if it means mowing the lawn with a push mower.

 

I am joining Running on Happy, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs Β for Coaches’ Corner, Nicole and Annmarie for Wild Workout Wednesday, Holley Gerth for Coffee for Your Heart, Sharing a Journey for Wellness Wednesday, Debbie at Dare 2 Hear, Random-osity for Little Things Thursdays, It’s a Small Town Life for Thankful Thursday, Crystal Storms for Heart Encouragement, and Worth Beyond Rubies for her link up.

 

 


 

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60 comments

  1. I’m going to play a little devil’s advocate here. Because it’s sort of a sore point. My Dad does want to give to everyone who asks. And everyone asks when you’re elderly, already on the mailing lists. It’s actually quite a problem. Ok, enough PSA. πŸ™‚

    Your mom sounds incredible. And it’s true — nothing gets us over our own problems like giving to others. Which is great to be reminded of!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes. You do have to be judicious. I don’t recommend always giving money. Sometimes time, food, or even a smile and some recognition are all that you have to give.

      My mom was truly incredible!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a motto that I “try” live by as well. Although I can’t give to every charity and every homeless person I come across, I do try to have a giving spirit in my everyday life. Sometime I can’t give money, but I feel like I can always give my time so that’s why I volunteer as much as I can.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, I sure wish your mum could have read this post.
    WWMD
    And “give to everyone who asks” is a tall order in this season of multiple and conflicting requests. Your words have reminded me to use a finer sifter when I’m processing all the asks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes. My friend is definitely not a taker. You make a very good point. Many of us (me included) need to learn to just say “Thank you” when we receive a gift or compliment. That is sometimes harder than giving!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Your mother sounded like a beautiful human being, Laurie! Your description of her also reminded me of my own mother, who was always doing whatever she could for other people! The world needs more people like our mothers! In your case, I would say that your mother is honored by you everyday through the kindness you continue to give to others! πŸ™‚ ❀

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Generally people do not fall too far from the apple tree of their parents. Your mom sounds wonderful and I am sure you are generous as well. And I think wisdom also comes onto play when being generous as well. I have seen people take advantage of the kindness and generosity of others. We have to allow God’s discernment to guide us as we share ourselves with others. Your running sounds like it is coming along and you are just trying to get back to “your” best and that can change as our bodies change. Best of luck.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My most cherished goal is to be more like my mom. We do need to be discerning in our generosity, not necessarily only to protect ourselves, but to ensure that what we are giving is given in love.

      My running comeback has its ups and downs, but it is generally headed in the right direction. Thanks!

      Like

  6. I’m struggling today – wondering if I should give to someone who has asked. Someone who I perceive as an enemy. I’ve been praying. Perhaps your post has helped me move toward giving. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Aw, yes, we were both on the remembering mom mode this week! Your mom taught you the lessons well. She’d be mighty proud of your generosity with kind words and encouragement you’re sharing here in the blogosphere as well as in person! What a loving tribute you are doing to continue living the journey of giving she started.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Your mom sounds like my dad. So generous and caring. Dad had little money, but he gave generously of his time, which can be more of an inconvenience than giving money. He listened to people. (Someone needs to listen to them,” he used to say.) He thanked and encouraged people. (Everyone needs to be thanked, and few are, he said.)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. My husband mows our yard (which isn’t overly big) with a reel mower. I thought it was odd when he bought it and my dad poked fun, but it’s what he prefers and honestly I like that it doesn’t require any fuel.

    Your mom sounds like a wonderful person. I often wonder if some people are just born with more naturally caring hearts that they just take to taking care of others without question. I admit I’m guilty of wanting to care of “mine and my own” before the general public at large.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Laurie, your mom sounds like an exceptional person. I agree with Carol’s comment: giving of yourself and time is the ultimate. What else is there, really, in life? Thank you for linking up today. I do appreciate it.

    Liked by 1 person

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