We’re continuing our study of the building blocks. Have you completed your Soul Care Plan for 2017? Soul Care Plan Link Today’s block is the “G” (Generosity) block.

Today’s scripture: Proverbs 11:24-25 (ESV-text and audio) (KJV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Carla Peck):

  • Money is hard to come by!
  • You’ve got to learn to take care of yourself because no one else is going to!
  • A penny saved is a penny earned.

These are all lessons I learned early.

These lessons helped me to get a piggy bank started with my pre-teen babysitting and lawn mowing endeavors, a savings account with my teenage Dairy Queen job, and a 401-K with my current position, but man, these lessons sure cause me to wrestle with Bible passages like today’s reading!

But over time, and not until later in life, I have found that giving can be rewarding. But I’m going to save the stewardship inspiration for someone who is better at delivering it, especially in these tough economic times.

I am going to focus on this part of this passage:  “he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” I think it’s the same principle (giving and receiving) but these words help me think of it in a different way.

How we listen to others can flip our feelings about any situation on its head, and sometimes even improve the speaker’s situation too. Do we listen with the intent to change someone, offer suggestions, or moan and tune out because we’ve heard the same sad news time and time again? Or, do we choose to listen with the goal of letting the person get what they need to say off of their chest, empathize with them, comment on how what they said makes them feel, and with a sincere effort to listen for their benefit?  Do we offer to pray with the person we just listened to? Granted, this takes energy to do, but will help the listener be not quite so frustrated (even refreshed), and the speaker will be refreshed because they have been heard (and prayed for).

Not too long ago, I learned about Patrick Henry Hughes.  Born with no eyes and and a tightening of the joints which left him crippled for life, Patrick has mastered playing the piano and is part of a marching band. Patrick’s attitude is one of gratitude. See the attached clip for a remarkable story about listening and gratitude.

Thought for the day: With practice, I can listen to someone and pray with them with the purpose of refreshing someone else’s spirit, and the return I get will refresh me, too.

”Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” — Anonymous

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.