Posted in Christianity, Observations, Spirituality, Uncategorized

View From The Window

I’m looking out beyond the parking lot at the corner (it used to be a nice grassy field) to the wooded (thankfully protected for now) area southeast of here. I’m struck by the beauty and abundance of nature in the late spring – so full and green as the wind moves around the leaves – against the gray sky beyond it.
 
Squirrels and crows provide entertainment in the foreground. Last night there was even a frog out by the little “cement pond.” I’d never heard a large one before; there are always many of the little ones. It’s an in ground glorified bird bath put in decades ago by the patio, about 3 feet across, shaped like a lop-sided heart. We have a pump in it in the summer that shoots pleasant sounding bubbling water gurgles into the air. This time of year it’s always plugged with soft maple whirly helicopters and has to be cleaned once a day at least.
God must love soft maples, as He gives them a lot of reproductive capability. And He loves squirrels too, because they’re well fed by the maple seeds. Nature reflects His generosity. It witnesses to His truth. Everybody is cared for. The flowers of the field and birds of the air. There’s enough to go around. Are you not worth more than they? asks Jesus.
 
Then I heard these strange noises on the other patio. I went out to see about it and found 6 squirrels (5 black ones and a gray one) arguing over some pumpkin seeds I threw out the other day. They looked up, assessed the situation and then scattered. I brought them more. Note to self: Go to Tractor Supply tomorrow and get some mix or peanuts for the critters. Someone might ask, why feed them with everything nature provides so well in the warm seasons? Purely selfish I guess. I love to see them come up and have lunch with us – on the other side of the window. Life can be good with the simple things.
I bet it could be even better if we realized that the Good Lord put a very special “law” right into the fabric of everything: “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.
 
This is really the way things work harmoniously and without harm – by the fearless exercise of generosity – not by force, fear, extortion, cunning, conniving, and destroying things because you have been taught to regard yourself as a victim, and feel that others have what you want so you hate them.
That is the lie and the behavior of the evil one and those “at the top” given over to him. His minions use people who don’t know the truth to do their evil bidding. But in the end those used people will only be cast aside. They won’t get a piece of that pie as they were deceived into thinking. Those “seeds” will also bear their own rotten fruit, by the way, in the lives of those who sow them. Others will be blamed for the crop failure of course.
The bottom line is we’re always sowing and reaping, for good or for destruction. That’s just how it is. It’s what we do.
 
I’m not sure how exactly to best spread that good truth, except to put it into practice and share it with anyone who’s looking and listening; but it’s a message that needs to be widely spread and to bear fruit; and by the looks of things, it needs to be a clear alternative that happens fast.’
For now, ponder and pray about that. Listen. Practice generosity.
Posted in Christianity, Spirituality, Uncategorized

Practicing Generosity

Looking for “spiritual experiences”? Before heading off to the next church or religion on the “quest”, on the “journey”, on the “path” in the pursuit of what you think someone or some organization or institution might have to give to you, where you don’t think you’re being “fed”, how about a look at what’s right in front of you, and has been there all along? Try this one, if you’re looking for a “spiritual practice”.

Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure – pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” Luke 6:38 (NASB)

Jesus doesn’t even remotely give the impression that the answer lies in complaining about your church, what it doesn’t give you, or how others don’t treat you right. Nor does He suggest switching religions the way people do today – like changing your socks. What He does teach us, by both His own example and His words, is that the Kingdom is here and now, right around us, in front of us. He shows us that by a switch in how we think (renewal of the mind) and turning away from the blame game (repentance), and moving toward complicity with His Way of going about life (putting on the mind / attitude of Christ and surrender of our will to the Father), we can begin to be the catalyst for a transformed life full of answers, instead of questions and struggle and strife.

The above passage of Luke is at first a command followed by a promise. When the Lord makes such a statement, He is revealing a principle of the Kingdom of Heaven – where the experience of blessing flows from obedience to what He is telling us to do, on a consistent basis, as a habit. This is “spiritual practice” at its finest. We’re expected to comply so that we can receive the blessed result! And it comes to fruition rather speedily, since He also promises us, “So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11. If He has given a principle followed by a promise, in other words, it will happen as advertised, we might say.

This is what might be perceived as a key to the kingdom. It unbinds us from the cycle of want or debt, in which so many people find themselves today. Even if someone is not necessarily on hard times, and may just wish to be a blessing, then see what will happen with a little practice of generosity.

And there’s one more point where this is concerned – that it’s done quietly without fanfare or bragging on oneself on social media about all the good we do.

So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. “But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” Matthew 6:2-4.

When we give or practice generosity, it’s important to do so very, very quietly. This is a spiritual practice that can be done any time, any day. We do not need to belong to the “right” church. It’s up to us to be as Jesus Christ in this life and world, to bring the kingdom of heaven to earth, both by prayer and the action that springs from the obedience of faith.

PS: Maybe the quietness and anonymity that goes with being generous keeps the ego, which wants notoriety and fanfare, out of it.