February 7 – Giving For a Living

i-am-with-the-wounded

Most people think in terms of money when the word giving is mentioned. However, true generosity involves much more than a few dollars and cents. It is a lifestyle. In history, we find examples of individuals who grasped this reality.

Recently my family came across such a lady. She lived in the 1800’s and exemplified a life of giving. During the Civil War, this little lady decided she would go on to the battlefield and dress the wounds of the fallen soldiers.

She realized that many men could possibly bleed to death in the field from injuries that could be treated, before they could ever get to a hospital. She was denied access by the general several times, but she would not give up! Although the sentiment of the day was that the battlefield was no place for a woman, the commanding officer finally surrendered!

This woman was willing to put her life on the line so that others might live. That is the spirit of generosity. So whether it’s in the form of money, time, or talent, we would all do well to develop such character in our lives. Ask the question before the Lord right now, “What can I give?” As you wait for Him to reveal His will to you, reach out and do something really simple for those right around you—your family!

Here are the five “I Will’s” from the Character First curriculum:

I WILL share what I have with others

I WILL recycle

I WILL not expect anything in return for my generosity

I WILL give of my time and talents

I WILL praise the good I see in others

By the way, this precious, persistent lady was not only known as the “Angel of the Battlefield,” but after the Civil War, she went on to create the American Red Cross. Her name was Clara Barton. What a great example to follow!

Biblical Meditation: Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus and in [dependence upon] His Person, giving praise to God the Father through Him.

 

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December 17 – TIPS

He who has a bountiful eye shall be blessed, for he gives of his bread to the poor. Proverbs 22:9 AMP

Waiting tables. What a way to make ends meet. Back when I was really too young to be hustling my fair share of tips, I was knee-deep in the middle of it and loving every minute.

Because at barely sixteen, a couple of ten dollar bills or an apron full of ones was enough to cover lunch at school for at least a couple of days! But the lion’s share of the money I didn’t see because I was only the bus boy and expeditor. Nevertheless, like the waiters, I relied heavily on the generosity of the considerate.

It wasn’t until a few years ago did I discover a most noble insight into the world of compensation for the waitrons of the world. Standing in line, waiting for a table, I overheard someone say, “If we knew what tipping was really about in this country, there would be no wait!”

Intrigued, I inquired, “Sorry to butt in, but what do you mean”? The lady kindly spoke, “The word TIPS is an acronym for “To Insure Proper Service.” And in many foreign countries around the world the tip is offered before the meal.”

What a novel concept. It took me a few times out before I worked up the courage to try the idea. I was amazed at the reaction. When we were seated, I compensated our waiter up front. Not accustomed to receiving payment before services were rendered took him aback. I explained…the service was genuine.

For me, a true generous eye looks an awful lot like TIPS. Before services benefit me, before he or she proves their intent, and in spite of “have and have not” status, I share, I give, I compensate.

Why?

Because…Generous hands are blessed hands!

October 8 – If I Were A Rich Man

The blessing of the Lord—it makes [truly] rich, and He adds no sorrow with it [neither does toiling increase it]. Proverbs 10:22

Milton changed his world. Though he only had the equivalency of a fourth grade education, Milton Hershey built what would become the largest chocolate manufacturing company in the world. He transformed the landscape of the twentieth century for so many with a simple but profound motivation. Generosity.

Not only did he create a viable market that could benefit from the many native dairy farmers of his birthplace, Derry Church, he revolutionized the concept of “Company Townships” where workers and their families had a community of support for all those “beyond the job” needs and desires; thus, the city of Hershey, Pennsylvania was built, which is thoroughly equipped with excellent housing, entertainment and medical options, and much, much more.

But in my estimation, one of the greatest expressions of the soul wealth of Milton Hershey was the founding of a school for orphaned, unwanted and underprivileged children, known today as the Milton Hershey School. Now more than one hundred years old, this school has been an instrument of endless encouragement and inspiration for multitudes upon multitudes of would-be lost innocent children.

To insure the school would have more than adequate funding long after he and his wife’s time on earth was done, Milton established the Milton Hershey School Trust Fund that to this day has the majority of the voting shares of the Hershey Company.

As I reflect on today’s Proverb, “the blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich…,” Mr. Hershey inspires me. Yes, he built a successful company that today does around seven billion dollars in sales annually, but he designated the lion share of what he could have hoarded as his fortune toward the betterment of others. That’s true richness.

No, I don’t have a huge company to underwrite what’s broken in the world, but what I have and what you have is just as “wealth producing.” It’s a heart that is capable of benevolence toward our fellow man. Money is easy, but blessed generosity can change the world!