Week Five: Nourishing Ourselves by Giving to Others
Lenten Nurturing: This week is focused on nourishing ourselves by giving cheerfully to others. Try to blog your thoughts and activities this week here at the meeting’s website. 2 Corinthians 9:7 “Every man according as he purposes in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loves a cheerful giver.”
Wednesday: Giving Anonymously to Others
I would love to start a activity with our family this coming Christmas in preparing the manger for baby Jesus during Christmas season: Fill a basket with straw and place it near your nativity set. When family members do something special (anonymously) —things like being kind, sacrificial, generous, and patient—they can leave a piece of straw in the manger. Before the Christmas story is read on Christmas morning, parents can lay the figure of baby Jesus on top of the straw bed that the family has built for Him. Think of other ways such as this for you or your family to “metaphorically” build the manger throughout the year anonymously. Blog in “Thoughts from Friends” what works for you or what has worked for you in the past. Matthew 6:1-4 “Take heed that you do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise you have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.”
Thursday: Giving Thanks to Others
Think of some different ways you can show thanks to others like: Tell them you’re there if they have anything they want to talk about—and let them know they have your full attention. Give them something of yours that you think they would enjoy, and let them know why you want them to have it. Invite them to do something you know they’ve always wanted to do. I challenge you to make every effort to call that person that comes into your heart, no matter how long it’s been since they’ve heard from you. In your own way, tell them how grateful you are in how they have influenced your life. Consider blogging in “Thoughts from Friends” how showing thanks makes you feel.
Friday: Giving Prayer to Others
“The modern Quaker writer Arthur O. Roberts succinctly outlines the characteristics of silence. Roberts shows silence not as formal worship but as private reflection that nurtures the individual in the recognition of solitude. In his Devotions on Silence, Roberts writes that silence
1. fosters awe before the Almighty;
2. indicates submission to God;
3. provides a posture for worship;
4. provides freedom from noise and distraction;
5. condition for tranquility;
6. sets the stage for prayer;
7. signifies respect for others;
8. renews wonder at the world;
9. provides holy space;
10. prepares for effective social witness.”
Set the stage for prayer. During silent worship, I like to open my eyes and look at each person in the room, holding each one in God’s love and light, allow that prayer to travel outside the meeting from home to home, county to county, state to state, country to country…God’s love is like wifi, it travels quickly through prayer across the airwaves.
Saturday: Giving Love to Others
I was walking up the Monon trailwhen I realized I was isolated with no body around. I remember feeling very uncomfortable because there were three young men walking the opposite direction. As they approached me, I began to feel uneasy and panicky, unsure of whether they were troublesome thugs. I felt very vulnerable. It came to me in that moment that I needed to look into their eye and see that of God. As my eyes looked toward them, two never looked up, but the young man in the middle caught my gaze and smiled the biggest, sweetest smile. I smiled back! That was God’s greeting to me. Sometimes it’s easier to love the ones we love, and it is much more challenging to send love out to strangers passing on the road. I choose love. Giving love to others is like giving God to others.
Sunday: Giving Help to Others
A Friend recently posted, “The strongest people make time to help others, even if they are struggling with their own problems.” I find sometimes when I am struggling the most, it gives me great joy deep in my heart to reach out and give help to others. Invite a Friend to lunch this week and make this the topic of discussion. Blog it.
Monday: Giving to your Pastor
“Over 100 years ago as the face of Christianity in the United States was undergoing significant changes, many Friends accepted pastoral ministry as one means of leadership within the local congregation. With that move, a particular type of transformation took root within pastoral meetings. A single individual became responsible for a set of ministerial responsibilities. Over time, excellent preaching, home visitation, teaching abilities, counseling skills, community involvement, and administrative leadership within the congregation have become just a few of the lofty, yet standard, expectations that meetings and churches place upon their pastors.” (ESR webpage) Our pastor has huge responsibilities placed on her daily. Each of us have our own methods of giving. ‘…And so, my fellow Friends - ask not what your pastor can do for you, ask what you can do for your pastor.'
Tuesday: Giving Encouragement to Others
Roman’s 12:8 “if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” Ways to encourage: Go to lunch or dinner together. Offer praise publicly. Offer to do a task. Spend time listening. Askhow you can help them. Offer to babysit their children so they can get away for a while. Call them just to let them know you were thinking of them. Smile as you pass people. You never know who needs to see a kind face to give them hope. Write a letter of commendation to their boss. Share a compliment. Give an uplifting card. Give a motivational book. Give a gift card to a restaurant. Tell them you will pray for them. Tell them that you appreciate them. Blog how you encouraged someone today.