Fruitfulness Never Goes to Waste

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?

Blood:  the gift that is always in need.
Blood: the gift that is always in demand.

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.

Bottle-cap tea light candles. Made by me, given by me.
Bottle-cap tea light candles. Made by me, given by me.

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.

Orange-lemon lotion bars. Little gifts for a few friends.
Orange-lemon lotion bars. Little gifts for a few friends.

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.

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