CHAPTER 3 – IT’S ABOUT TIME – Giving of Yourself
“Because our day planners are full of activity, our lives are often void of time spent loving other people so when someone does clear his or her schedule in order to make time for a loving gesture, the impact of the gift is magnified.” Karen Ehman
It’s all about time. It truly is as I look over my planner, and see how I rush about doing things – some of them things that don’t really matter in the Kingdom. I do see that most of those days on my calendar are full of keeping grandkids helping to mold them, to love them, to show them Jesus, and spending quality time with them. Other things that fill up my calendar are housework, volunteer Bible study work, blogging and things I know matter in the Kingdom.
Joy is not found in accumulating stuff. Joy is found loving others and giving of yourself.
We are a nation striving/working our rear ends off to have it all – a big house or houses, a nice car or cars or trucks, a job that pays well, closest full of clothes (yes, I have three of my own), our kids involved in everything at school, and just on and on and on. How do we put on or clothe ourselves with mercy, kindness, humility, meekness (gentleness) and long-suffering (patience)? How do we change that mindset to echo the heart of our Lord?
Karen shared this quote by Charles Spurgeon:
“ But I trusted in thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my God. My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me.” Psalm 31:14-15 (KJV)
Our time is truly in His hands. What we do with our time here on earth is what matters. Giving of ourself matters.
Karen shared how a friend drove several hours to her father-in-laws funeral. Why did that matter? Karen says because “it cost her something that is very dear to all of us these days time. Have you stopped what you were doing to bless a life, touch a heart?
It’s hard sometimes with our schedules to stop and amend them, but amend we must if we are giving of ourselves.
Just this week I had kept my two-month old granddaughter and her 2 year old brother, and then picked up my 3 year old grandson. I learned that day of a former supervisor who lost his 23-year old son, and well the memorial was that evening. I pondered over going up there in the rush hour traffic – about an hour away and rushing to get dressed after the kids left leaving me only an hour and a half to shower, dress, and drive in whatever the traffic might send.
I decided to go, and my husband called and he was going to the hospital to visit a guy who worked for him who is dying – only 53 years old. So rather than our normal doing things that matter as a couple, we parted in two different directions.
What a blessing to hear my former boss speak! All though years I worked for him, I had not really known him and his love of God. I sit there and listened to young men speak about not staying in touch and I sit there a little guilty because I am so busy and I have lost touch with some wonderful people I used to work with. I am retired and as all my retired friends said that evening their calendars are full. Mine is packed full of “good stuff” and some days there is not any wiggle room.
As I was leaving that evening and hugged Mr. Flowers goodbye, he said, “you will never know how much it means to me for you to come.” I pray it truly was a gift to him to see so many of us there stopping our lives to touch his families hearts.
Here are some ways that Karen shares how we can carry one another’s burden or just share our busy lives with others:
- Check off something on their to-do list. For me here are some simple things I’ve done. Right now I pick up my toddler grandson from Mother’s Day Out, while my daughter-in-law is at home not having to load up twins to go pick him up, and sometimes the five grandkids might stay over for my daughter or daughter-in-law can pick up some groceries or take a nap. It can be something like painting an older woman’s toenails/fingernails – yes my mother-in-law asked me last week, mowing a yard for a neighbor – especially one that is in the hospital or who has had surgery
- Lighten a domestic load. Show up with a few laundry baskets and kidnap laundry. Do some housecleaning. For me, I have gone over and allowed my daughter to work or clean while I watch the baby and toddler.
- Spend a little of your time helping someone else save some of theirs. Running errands can help a shut-in. I use my shopping time to sometimes pick up things for my mother-in-law or the kids like trips to Costco.
- Think in multiples of two. Cook once. Eat twice. Karen suggests making a habit of doubling and freezing. I am not good about that. I did recently cook three meals at once to take my daughter and daughter-in-law when they both had three new babies in March a week apart.
- Speak the powerful words of “me too”. Karen quoted C. S. Lewis “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'”
- Listen For Those Heart Drops and Respond. Take inventory. Live alert listening for heart drops. Who is the Lord calling you to bless today?
Last year on my birthday I wrote about being a gift, and some random acts of kindness that I did on that day. You can read about those ideas here.
In this chapter, Karen shares a story about a neighbor nine doors down. It is sad. She had seen a lady during her morning walks who would be out watering. Karen would smile and say hi, and pop her headphones back on, and keep walking. One day she was driving home and saw flashing lights. Her neighbor had died – no more waves and no more smiles.
That story resonated with me because I walk, but unless it is neighbors I know it’s hard for me to say anything much less hi, but my next walk I am going to see what happens. Karen reminds us to give a “how are you” rather than a “hurried hi.”
And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. Mark 12:31 (KJV)
“When God knocks on our hearts, we can knock on their doors.” Karen Ehman
CHAPTER 4 – WHO MAKES YOUR DAY – Noticing The Necessary People
This chapter teaches us how to show people we love them, and reminds us to love the necessary people – our mailman, school teachers, garbage men, hail stylist, grocery checker and sacker, etc..
One of my favorite paragraphs in this chapter reminds us who they are in God. Karen said, “every day and every week, our lives naturally intersect with many people, all of whom bear the image of God. When we look beyond ourselves-and beyond the flaws and quirks of others-we see God. We have an opportunity not only to greet these necessary people face-to-face but to witness God’s very image in them.
WOW! How often have I forgotten that when looking at others. When I look at others do I see Jesus. When others look at me, do they see Jesus.
Graphics: Personal and PicMonkey