Sometimes I take for granted the people in my life.

I have some fantastic friends that care about us deeply.  Two such friends are a beautiful couple named Jay and Heather.   We have just met them recently, but it was one of those times when you just know that this is going to be a deep and lasting friendship.  Heather is a fantastic hair “beauty operator”.  I think between her and Brittney they have about 15 different colors in their hair.  Jay is an amazing guitarist.  Both of them are in love with Jesus.

We were headed to dinner with them when I remembered that I had not given.  More out of convenience than anything else, I decided to pay for their dinner.  But I started to feel guilty that I was not giving with the right heart.  I was thinking that I shouldn’t just do the easy thing.  But God laid something on my heart.  I told Brit that if we pay for them I wanted it to be intentional.  I wanted to take the time to BE there.  I wanted to listen to their hearts, care about what they said, and most importantly, tell them that we valued them and their friendship.

I realized two things.

First, I do not do this enough.  I eat with people all the time.  But just by listening to them and really hearing them, I learned so much more about them and their passions.  I wonder how many times people have been out to eat with me and noticed how self-absorbed my thoughts are.

Secondly, by giving with a purpose, I gave myself purpose.  By intentionally focusing my giving, I was able to grow closer to friends, learn more, and build trust between us.  The giving, for me, created this.  Because it costed me something, I was more intentional about its results.

Dallas Willard says that there is no such thing as practicing random acts of kindness.

I am sensing a theme here…giving is so much bigger than I thought.

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