Just finished a nice book of poems by Ralph Waldo Emerson and I thought I’d share a few maxims with you—

  • “To be great is to be misunderstood.”
  • “Happy is the house that shelters a friend.”
  • “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”
  • “A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him, I may think aloud.”
  • “Beauty without grace is the hook without the bait.”
  • “Life is not so short but there is time for courtesy.”
  • “Beware when the great God lets loose a thinker on this planet. Then all things are at risk.”
  • “No man thoroughly understands a truth until he has contended against it.”
  • “In skating over thin ice, our safety is in our speed.”

If you haven’t read any poetry lately, I encourage you to give it a try. It sounds/reads differently, but the rhythm and pace sort of sings to your mind and heart as you read it. For Americans I recommend starting out with some American poets like Emerson or Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; for you Brits, try some Robert Browning.

Happy reading!

Give It Away To Have More

It seems like we never have enough. Enough time. Enough money. Enough food. Enough friends.

As weird as it sounds—the cure to have enough is to give what you have away.

Imagine a drought … famine … despair. Lakes drying up and wells running dry. The dairy cows aren’t producing as much milk as usual, and the beef cows don’t have as much meat on them as they used to. The wheat fields aren’t growing as abundantly, and the corn is dry and mealy. Men don’t work as much, their wives don’t visit as much, and the kids don’t play as much.

Now, what if you found out you were going to be fortunate enough to host a VIP at your home? How do you prepare a decent meal? How do you think this VIP is going to react to the meager meal set before him? What if someone came from a distance away and brought you 20 loaves of freshly-baked bread?

Do you know how Elisha responded in these settings? He said, “Give it to the people to eat” (2 Kings 4).

Elisha shows up at his guests’ home and says, “Put the large pot on the stove and make some stew.” The large pot?!? Don’t you know we’re in a famine? Don’t you realize that we don’t have very much to spare?

Put the large pot on the stove and make some stew, then serve it to the people to eat,” Elisha said. He didn’t ask for the food to be prepared for himself, but for others. And not just a little stew either—he said make stew in the large pot. It’s interesting to me, too, that the householders had all the ingredients for a stew, but they were trying to stretch it out and make it last longer. They were hoarding what they had.

Then a friend arrives from a distant land bringing Elisha 20 loaves of bread.

Do you know how Elisha responded to this gift? “Give it to the people to eat.” Give it to the people?!? There are over 100 people here and we only have 20 loaves! That seems a bit cruel to just whet people’s appetites with so little; why don’t we just keep it for ourselves.

But Elisha said, “Give it to the people to eat. Not only will they all eat, but there will be leftovers too.”

When we hoard what we have, we rob others. We rob ourselves too because we miss out on the blessing of seeing others satisfied, and we miss out on the miracles that God wants to do right before our eyes.

“Why does God bless us with abundance? So we can have enough to live on and then use the rest for all manner of good works that alleviate spiritual and physical misery. Enough for us; abundance for others.” —John Piper

So, when you think about it, don’t you really have enough time to help someone in need?

Don’t you really have enough money to alleviate someone’s suffering?

Don’t you really have enough food to satisfy someone’s hunger?

Don’t you really have enough love to make a new friend?

Don’t rob yourself by hoarding. Don’t buy into the scarcity mindset that looks away from others. The more you give away, the more you will have. Try it, it works!

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