Generosity: 1. the willingness to give or to share. 2. an act of unselfish giving.
Selfishness: concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself.
I feel drained. Empty. Unable to give. How can I keep going on? Do I even have anything that someone needs?
The answer is yes, I can keep going.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11: 28-30 ESV
The answer is yes. I believe that at any moment in our lives we have something to give. But, sometimes we do have very little. Sometimes we do need to be filled.
The mom’s group that I attend at my church is going through Jennie Allen’s Bible study Restless. In it we are digging deep and exploring into ourselves to find out who God made us to be so that we can know what we are supposed to be doing.
God told me last night that one reason, (one of probably a few million), I feel restless is because I am a giver, and I haven’t learned how to receive yet. If I am a glass of water and I give a drop or a sip to anyone who is in need eventually I will run out of water. Eventually I will be dry.
The reason I put the definition selfishness above is because I want you to understand that I am not talking about being “concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself”. I am talking about being filled.
“that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith–that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:14-19 ESV
I think that it is selfish to think that we can keep on giving. I know it is when I am focused on myself that I don’t see my need for Jesus. I don’t see that He is holding his hand out offering me wisdom, strength, joy, peace, patience, understanding, and anything I could ever need and could ever have to offer someone else. I dry up when I only look at myself.
My trying to be strong, and independent does not do anyone service. I am weak, and I need to rely on God for everything.
I am restless because giving is part of who I am, and I can’t be that part of me when I am dry.
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein came to my mind when God told me that I need to learn to receive. I read it before I started writing this post. I find it beautiful and sad at the same time. The tree was so loving, so generous. I realize that in the end she still had one thing left to give, and that it was exactly what the boy needed, and that the author said that the tree was happy, but as I looked at the picture of the stump I thought, “you can’t give much when you are just a stump.”
“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV
I think of the apple tree. Tall and with beautiful branches reaching out in praise to its Creator. I see it dressed in green and bearing tasty fruit. I see mother birds and squirrels building homes and raising families. I see activity, life, and beauty. Things are moving and growing and happening. People seek the tree out hoping to receive something good. I see the tree bringing glory to God.
If I allow myself to give until I am just a weary, lonely stump, I will not be bringing glory to my Creator. He wants me to thrive and be filled so that I overflow to others. That is how we are a city on a hill.
As a wife and mom I am giving on a daily basis. Minute after minute I am pouring into my family. (That is not counting all the other people who come across my path) So isn’t it realistic that I need to be filled by God on a minute to minute basis also? I believe so.
So I pray this for you:
“that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” Ephesians 1:17-23 ESV