When I lived overseas after college, my friends and I talked about how we loved to get the most use out of something, squeezing out every last drop, and then toss the empty container (think toothpaste or face wash). I still relish that feeling–getting the most out of something–although now I try to recycle the bottle or tube.
When I give, I feel safe and comfortable giving with the knowledge that what I give will be used to the max. There is an element of wisdom in that, of course–we want to give our finances to support reputable charities. But what about cooking a meal for a family in crisis, even though some of the food may be thrown out? Or giving a present that I painted myself although it may end up relegated to the back corner of the recipient’s laundry room?
What about giving then, when it does not feel as “safe” or “comfortable”? When I must recognize that whatever I give may not be valued or utilized the way I would hope? I say, Do it anyway. And I say that to myself. God loves a cheerful giver, so we read in 2 Corinthians 9:7. If I am to give cheerfully, I can’t also give stingily. I’m not encouraged to give and then make sure what I’ve given is appreciated or used or valued. I’m just told to give–and in giving, I am fruitful. I can be responsible only for MY actions and MY motives, so I choose to give, reminding myself that God honors what I give regardless of how it is received. Reminding myself that it is GOOD for me to give–maybe even more important for my own heart to be a giver than for the recipient to have a need met.
Case in point: At Christmas, I made homemade lotion bars, using a recipe found on Pinterest, with yummy, all-natural ingredients. (Actually, they ARE yummy–they smell good enough to eat. Well, except for the beeswax. Don’t eat beeswax.)
I had such fun making these (with my boys, of course) but wondered at points if the friends to whom I would give them would like these gifts. Or even understand them. Some of these ladies appreciated using all-natural ingredients, I knew; but maybe others didn’t have a preference in that arena. Maybe some of them used only a certain brand of lotion and wouldn’t want to deviate from that. Maybe some of these cute little lotion bars would waste away in a bathroom cabinet for years.
So I said to myself, Give them anyway. And I did…I made them, packaged them, and gave them–all with joy. Because fruitfulness never goes to waste.