September focus is “Generosity” ‘lay up treasures in heaven’
While on my summer travels I read a most interesting book, “THE HAPPINESS PROJECT” by Gretchen Rubin. Educated as a lawyer, having worked as a clerk for Sandra Day O’Connor, Gretchen researched ways to be “HAPPY”. Many of her ideas are noteworthy, but one caught my attention. Encouraging her readers to learn to “Spend Out”. The premise of ‘spending out’ is to be generous with our abundance, time, gifts, dreams, and caring. So often we have items, ideas, or time that we carefully ‘save for another, better time’. How many of us have items we own that we ‘save for special’ or time on our hands that we hold in limbo, or finances that we ‘save because we might need it later’!! The stories of those who ‘wait until it’s too late’ to share or give and never get to see the happiness or joy they might have given another. Our Lord invites us to not ‘lay up treasures’ and to give with enthusiasm, not always meaning our tithe or our volunteer time. Our United Methodist tradition asks of us to give of our ‘time, our talents, our gifts, and our service’. Have we put this into too small a box?
My mother had a silver spoon collection. Her aunt had given her a unique silver spoon for every birthday as she grew up. Mother had also inherited spoons from her grandmother, mother, and mother-in-law. A box of about a dozen of these were among the ‘treasures ‘my sister and I diligently polished at least once a year, putting them carefully back in their box for that ‘special occasion’ when dessert or beverage spoons were needed. When my Mother died, we found in the bottom of a drawer, several more boxes filled with silver spoons. None of these had I seen, and I thought I knew all of her ‘treasures’ having moved her several times in recent years. What a surprise to find beautifully sculptured spoons, ones with special messages engraved, and slender demitasse spoons. She was ‘saving them for special’!! I have taken these spoons out, put them on spoon racks in my kitchen, and try regularly to polish and use them. Guests notice this fun collection and pour over the variety and uniqueness of each one. I hope I am ‘spending out’ by sharing this collection.
Have you a time of day that tends to be ‘down time’ or time wasted when you might call a friend, write a note, record a story for a grandchild, e-mail a soldier, or talk with a neighbor? Have you items in you possession that could be used by a shelter, single Mom, or a family member? Do you have clothes or linens, or office supplies that you ‘save for special’ that would make you or another smile or would increase enjoyment? Do you keep a change jar that just adds up and sits on a shelf that could be donated to the backpacks for hungry children or put into a fund for a scholarship? Have you books that you have read that just sit on your shelf that might bring happiness to another. Do you have creative or loving ideas that if shared could benefit another? (Just look what happened to the ‘Jesus Bracelet’ project at Sedona UMC that mushroomed into a great fund raiser). Do you have time to pray ? Make a prayer list and pray specific prayers for others.
Gretchen Rubin states that those who give or are charitable tend to become more wealthy, whether it be in funds, joys, or emotional or spiritual wealth. The old saying “The More You Give the More You Receive” holds true of ‘spending out’. HAPPINESS IS MADE OF THIS!!
Alice Stephenson BSN,RN,PN