Give What You Have, November 1

We have said in the past that none of us will pass through this life without affecting the lives of others, for no man or woman exists entirely unto themselves.

To some degree, we all depend upon one another. In fact, much of our own happiness is dependant upon others, and comes from those around us. But, interestingly enough, happiness is a result of what we give to our fellow man, not what we take. The most capable individual always seems to be the one most willing to give his time and talent to others.

We should all do well to follow one of John Wesley's simple rules of conduct for living.

He Wrote:

Do all the good you can,

In all the ways you can,

In all the times you can,

To all the people you can,

As long as ever you can.

It seems appropriate that we should give ourselves as a partial payment for all we receive. "After all", said spiritual leader, "we owe a kind of rent...or at least an obligation for all the space we occupy on earth, for the tenancy and tenure we have here, for the beauty and the sustenance, and the privilege of living life.

If life seems to have lost some of it's sparkle, perhaps it is because we are so involved in our own personal affairs that we have forgotten to reach out to others. But we should also be cautious of giving service at the expense of our own needs. "The idea of altruistic virtue", as it has been called, can be carried too far. It is self-evident that we must care for our own welfare if we are going to be of service to others. Total disregard of others would be fatal to our society, but at the same time, we must not forego our responsibility to ourselves. A doctor cannot be of service to his patients if he is unwell himself, nor can we be of help to others if we ourselves neglect our own lives.

Meaningful service to others can be provided in many ways and in varying degrees, according to our individual abilities and talents. The widow's mite is just as valuable as the rich man's fortune. We should serve our fellow men in whatever way we can. As Longfellow said, "Give what you have to someone, it may be better than you dare think".

Pastor Hans Lillejord