With temperatures in the 70's, it is a beautiful, sunshiny day. There is a breeze steady and constant and the chimes outside the front door play a rapid beat. The doves are relaxing on the fence but they don't have their feathers puffed out for warmth. Neighbors are walking around the water feature with their small ones on trikes, in strollers or doing the flat footed toddler run a few steps ahead. We stayed on the prairie this morning and visited a neighborhood church. Another one can be marked off the list. Roy and I went to brunch afterwards at Las Alamada's. Very well done with a varied menu to chose from. What's not to like about having pancakes and eggs with chips and salsa as an appetizer and afterwards a chaser to get the sweet taste out. Roy wanted to make a quick stop at Home Depot to pick up one more insulated tube for a pipe outside. We marveled at the fact we were arriving home at 12:15 and had a very full morning.
Yesterday, our church tweeted; "Generosity creates gratitude! Thank the Lord for all He has given you, for your life, and for how blessed you are." I think this is a very true statement but I also think it can be reversed, gratitude creates generosity. In my story, I think the latter has been true. I think gratitude creates generosity. Being grateful and thankful is central to how we live out this life of forgiveness with gratitude. I have written this so many times on this blog and on Facebook and on Twitter; one of my favorite quotes by Erwin McManus. "A life of gratitude makes us WHOLE, overwhelms us with LOVE, and moves us to LIVE generous lives." This is my testimony, going from being bitter and feeling so much was owed to me, to experiencing gratitude and the divine work it did to make me whole. Pre-gratitude life involved seeing everything in a negative and cynical way. I was trapped by my bitterness. Erwin McManus continues in the book Stand Against the Wind, that bitterness destroys relationships. impairs our judgment, skews our perspective and distorts our memories. Gratitude of God's grace changes our perspective of life and I began to experience life rather differently.
Ask God to open your eyes and lead you where He gets the glory and lives are changed by living out a life of gratitude and generosity. Generosity to people who work in service industries could be life changing. So many times Christians have that rep of leaving a tract instead of 20%. Roy and I often go to the same places to eat, not because we are stuck in a rut, but we are looking for opportunities to get to know the wait staff and look for ways to serve them.
Every Sunday in church we sit by people who are struggling and losing hope whether it be financially, emotionally or spiritually. I know that feeling because many, many years ago, we were there. We were doing everything we knew to do after a job reversal, relevant term that means job loss. Our income decreased significantly as we tried to stay current on our mortgage and buy groceries. We were both looking for jobs. Praise God, we never defaulted or were late on that house payment, but we were discouraged. Life was so hard. But then, jobs...turn around...our outlook and attitude changed. I once told Roy, I love the corporate life because his CPA and Law dues were not being paid by us and we weren't footing the bill for continuing education hours for both licenses. It did change the way we give and Roy has a soft place for young men who struggle with job loss.
A good way to keep a grateful heart is to remember how other's generosity changed your life for the good, God way. I am thankful for Sunday School teachers who were generous with their time. I am thankful for friends who have and still do walk through life's difficult roads giving generously of their time and words. I think of timely gifts that have been given and the person giving had no idea the need it was meeting. I'm thankful for those who have been generous with their written words and have been a strong help with those cards and letters. I'm even thankful for those who I have watched be less than generous with their lives, done the least, given the cheapest and justified their actions and they have been a great reminder, I do not want to walk in their path. I'm grateful for those who don't pigeon hole me and extend generosity in praying for my growth, change and transformation.
I found this quote in my journal and I have no idea where I read this, but it is good.
"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger to a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow." Melody Beattie
Generosity is a lifestyle, it is our life hidden in Christ. Generosity speaks volumes, louder and better with that overflow of love. It is Colossians 3:3- our real life. Yep, either way generosity creates gratitude or gratitude creates generosity....it's true.