Tag Archives: sharing

Try a Little Kindness

Share your cookies and your love.

The older I get the faster time flies by. For many of us retired folk, September is the start up of volunteer activities that have been suspended over the summer. Will we go back to yoga classes, afternoon cards, church groups and more?

The Bible tells us to choose life. On the internet I read, “Kindness is the new cool.” What a wonderful way to begin again in September. Let’s choose kindness first, each and every day. My stepson, Will, sent us this wonderful CBC Indigenous Video. Please take a minute to follow the link below.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/powwow-dancer-lost-regalia-1.4787775

Unlike Mr. Bateman in this video, we may never know the effect our kindness has but we can be sure that we will enjoy the good feelings that arise within ourselves.  Mr. Bateman, simply by doing his idea of the right thing, gave back something incalculably precious to Mr. Papequash. A few such individual acts by millions of people could not help but make a better world. Even just a smile for a harried clerk, a twoonie for a homeless person, a visit or phone call to a friend in the midst of our busy days, or a special act of kindness for a stranger can inevitably add to the goodness of this world.

Let’s make September kindness month. It could become a habit. It will change the world.

 

 

I Can Share! Hallelujah!

Aung Soe Myint (11yrs) I really happy for the Christmas time because we got presents and also we have school holiday. In this time we can play together we can eat together and we share our presents to each other. ( left to right Khin Myat Thu  (13yrs), wai Zin Phyoe (12yrs),Ei  Myat Maw (12yrs), Si Thu Aung (12yrs), Khant Paing Oo ( 12yrs), Aung Soe Myint (11yrs).
World Vision – Opportunities for a community’s children 

Today we received the annual report from World Vision for our beautiful foster child Layslla. In her picture we see a sweet young girl with a long ponytail. She looks much like any young girl here in Canada. Our Layslla is growing up. The letter tells us about the things she has learned because of our support. We are truly blessed to be able to be part of this program.

The best part of the World Vision Foster Child program is that the money we send benefits the entire community rather than just one child. When we write letters to Layslla, we are allowed to include little things like small note books, pens, pencils etc. We always send enough for Layslla to share. Sharing is important.

Many of us find it easy to give. We want to share our abundant blessings. We are not as good at receiving. Our culture teaches us that it is not good to be indebted by someone else’s gifts. “I’ll make it on my own, without help,” is a code we often live by. When I received Layslla’s letter today, I was reminded of the gifts we give when we receive help from someone. Our Layslla, gives Tom and I the blessing of being able to share. I am grateful.

Actually facing the individuals is difficult!

Please help me!
Please help me!

A stranger, in rough, dusty clothes stood at the exit to the shopping plaza holding a sign, “I’m hungry and out of work.”

As we approached the corner in our car, Tom turned to me and said, “Have you any change?”  I scrambled through the chaos of computer, cords etc. that cover my feet every time we travel, in search of my purse.

“Only $20, shall I give him that?”

The person behind us honked. Tom pulled away. With my hesitation, the moment was lost. Why didn’t I roll down the window and hand the man the $20? We would all have an answer. It was too much. Was he really out of work? What will he do with it?

A few days later, we parked in front of a stranger looking even more scruffy.  He held a sign saying: “Hungry, no money, heading east.” I was desperate for my bathroom stop but I didn’t want to miss this opportunity. “Tom,” I said, “Please give that young man some money and some food from our lunch pail. Talk with him. Find out his story.” and I hurried off.

When I returned Tom reported, “Gave him $5 and some cheese packets which are a good resource for a traveler.”

I know that my faith requires good deeds. I find it easy to donate money to church missions, or other groups because I trust it will be used wisely for people who truly need it. When it comes to giving to individuals, factors like true need, deserving, and my own safety, come into play. I forget to just give without judgment.

Slowly, I’m learning – learning to personally give away money and even my books and leave God responsible for the outcome. With this growth in generosity on an individual level, my faith has deepened. I am learning the truth of the Bible’s word, “Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (James 2:17)

 

You Have No Fence?

You Have No Fence?

By Janet Stobie

Fenced In
Fenced In

Summer has arrived. Tom and I have moved outside to enjoy our deck and our yard. Compared to our old place in Dunsford, this yard is a postage stamp. Still I have a tiny garden brimming over with lettuce, peas and garlic. Pots of flowers add splashes of colour here and there. A maple tree, big enough to provide the illusion of shade, stands proudly in the centre, giving rise to dreams of spreading branches filled with the laughter of future great-grandchildren. There’s just enough space for our garden swing on its little patio. Already our yard is a sanctuary, a beautiful island for quiet conversation and contemplation in the middle of the city.

A friend came by and said, “You have no fence”

“True, I can look right into my neighbours’ yards and enjoy their flowers, see them at work in their gardens, hear their laughter, watch their children play. In fact, one day our neighbour’s beautiful 3 year old checked out our family gathering. He stayed less than a minute. Guess our conversation wasn’t interesting enough. Some people say that “Good fences make good neighbours.” There may be some truth to that. I don’t know. Being a permanent city resident is a new experience for me.

Right now, I’m glad there’s no fence. A fence would keep us in and friends out.  Living in the country has taught us the value of knowing our neighbours. Our back yard can provide a wonderful opportunity for us to make friends on our street.

Whether our visitors are children and their parents, or the birds flitting to and fro from the birdhouses to the feeder, or the wee chipmunk and soft white rabbit both stuffing their cheeks with birdseed, I’m glad our yard is open to guests. We are truly blessed and we want to share those blessings.

 “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”                           (1 Peter 4:8-10)

How Do I Share My Faith?

Games Are Fun

Last month, my granddaughter and I celebrated our birthdays together for the first time. For this one precious year, she is living in Canada, one hour from us. Her gift for me, chosen by her and offered with a huge smile of satisfaction, was a tiny angel made of polished rose stone.

This is the second time in her short twelve years of life she has given me a gift of faith. Christianity is not practiced in her home. Still, she has learned that I treasure my faith. For that I am truly grateful.

We want to offer the invitation of faith to our grandchildren. We would like them to experience the joy of being a Christian and belonging to a church family. 

As Christians we know that God loves everyone unconditionally. We want each and every child of to know in the depths of their hearts that he or she is God’s precious child, loved no matter what.

Each day, I remind myself that Jesus issued invitations.

We accomplish nothing when we moan about our loved one’s lack of faith, or rejection of God. Treating their thoughts with contempt drives them away.  Our role is to pray for wisdom, patience, and a focus on invitation.

When we push too hard, we get in God’s way.

The best invitation of faith we can give is to live our faith and celebrate the joy of being part of a church family. Beyond that, we give our precious loved ones to God. We can trust that God will care for them.

 

Let us all remember Jesus’ invitation, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (NIV)

 

 

The Mystery of Money


When my children were young, my husband and I both returned to university. For three years, the five of us lived on student loans and bursaries. Money was extremely tight. We had no extras: no movies, no coffees at the cffee shop, no dinners out.

Still, I wanted to be able to share with others. We looked at our meager income and decided to give a tenth to Missions. Faithfully, at the beginning of each month, we set the money aside. Some went to our little church, some to the cancer society, some to others in need.

The strangest thing happened. We never missed that money. I still scrambled to stretch the dollars, but by the end of the month, the bills were paid and we had enough to eat. Giving didn’t destroy that. Yes, the loans piled up, but they would have anyway.

Just when I thought we weren’t going to make it, an unexpected check from a friend arrived usually for more than we had given away. At Christmas, we received the benevolent offering from our home church. Maybe those extra funds would have arrived anyway. I don’t know. What I know for sure is that being able to share gave me dignity. I learned the mystery of giving.

Over the years, because of that education, my life circumstances have changed. Ten percent of our income today amounts to much more money. Still, I don’t miss it.

When we face a charity canvasser or the offering plate with our wallets open searching for leftovers from our week, we seldom have much to give and often we’re resentful. Once we’ve made the commitment and set the money aside, we find pleasure in giving and there is enough left over for us. When caring for others becomes a priority in our money or our time, what’s leftover is enough. That’s God’s mystery.

“He brought us to thi place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey; and now I bring the first fruits of the soil that you, Lord, have given me.”

(Deuteronomy  26:9-10)

 

Sharing the Spirit

When I pull into my driveway, I am welcomed by glorious flowers. Yellows, reds, purples, all the colours of the rainbow shimmer in the summer sun. I smile and relax. “Thank you, God, for the gift of your presence here in my home,” I whisper.

When I step through the doorway at our Dunsford church, I am greeted by God’s  Holy Spirit, pouring out from the eyes, smiles and hugs of individuals in the congregation. Even on weekdays, when the building is empty, the echoes of their love enfold me as soon as I enter. “Thank you, God,” I whisper. “Thank you God for the gift of your presence here in this, your house of prayer.”

Last month, I was blessed with the privilege of gathering for worship at two Christian Conferences, one for writers and one for the wider church. Both times, my heart lifted in the presence of God’s Spirit that emanated from hundreds of others.

No wonder we lament our shrinking congregations. We speak of needing members to fill the pews, do the work and give the money. Those are real needs, yes, but more than anything, we yearn for the feeding of the Spirit that comes with numbers. Each one of us brings God’s Spirit with us everywhere we go. When we gather together, in God’s name, God’s Spirit rises up and overflows among us. Why are we missed when we stay home on Sunday mornings? Our bit of God’s Spirit is missing.

It’s easy to forget that others need us to share our gift of God’s Spirit. We focus on criticism, judgment, sadness, and we horde God’s gift of Spirit. When we do, we diminish ourselves, others and God. Next time you join with a gathering of Christians, intentionally invite God’s Holy Spirit to well up within you and flow out to others. Give God thanks for sharing the Holy Spirit through you.

“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:26)