Here’s some good news. If you aren’t already a gracious giver, you can become one right now. You don’t have to wait. I always thought, “When I have enough money, I will be a generous person.” Now, I realize generosity does not have to wait. I’m realizing I’ve known of homeless people who are generous. Why didn’t that ever sink in? By the way, don’t buy my attempt to look like I know what I’m talking about here; after all I’ve been a generous giver for, oh, say about 12 hours? Long enough to realize that generosity is an attitude of the heart. You can be generous with whatever you have. Give it all if you need to. There’s more coming. I am actually looking forward to the fact, though a little nervous, that I can be a giver today.
And here’s the other piece of good news. Generosity breeds more. God says that when we give, He opens up the windows of heaven and pours out a blessing. So when does that begin? Right now, too. You have to start somewhere, so you can start now. I know I’m making this sound easy; it’s not.
Here’s my latest giving story (I’m still taking yours, by the way):
I have a baseball signed by Joe DiMaggio. It’s also signed by Whitey Ford, Brooks Robinson, Bill Skowron, Early Wynn and a few other greats whose names have faded or are hard to read. I got it as a gift from Brooks Robinson’s son a number of years ago when he was in charge of an event for which I was speaking and singing. He had a number of these balls that come from old-timer’s exhibition games at which these Hall of Famers signed buckets of balls to give away for promotions and fundraisers.
I bring this up because I’ve been trying to visit Marie, Arnold’s wife, now and then, since he passed away. She has two sons who have kept her company quite a bit but now they have pretty much gone back to their lives and this is when the loneliness sets in.
Marie is a huge baseball fan. She and Arnold have had season tickets to all the Angels home games for many years now, and she also follows the Dodgers, so since no one in my family is that interested in baseball, I’ve provided Marie company watching the first two World Series games. For the second game, Marti suggested I take her a gift. (Marti has always been the gracious giver in our family.)
Now a gift for Marie is a challenge in that she can afford to buy almost anything herself. That’s why Marti thought of the baseball — something she would never be able to find or duplicate. I wonder, too, if Marti was wanting me to test my giving muscle by giving away something I highly valued. I passed the test, but not without a struggle. I had a couple other balls signed by more current Angels players and tried to talk myself into one of them. After all, they’re her beloved Angels. Nothing doing. I knew the old-timers ball was the one she would appreciate the most. So when I left after Wednesday night’s game, I left the ball and a card where she would find it after I was gone.
Yes, it was hard to part with this ball, but then again, the joy anticipating the surprise is much greater.
I do not come from a giving family. I’m sure my parents tithed properly to the church, but that was measured giving. That was not gracious giving from the heart; it was proper, controlled giving from the mind or the calculator. When I say a giving family, I mean a generous one. I’m learning about this from scratch. Once again, it’s an attitude more than anything. There’s nothing but selfishness holding anyone back from being a gracious giver.