Thursday, November 12, 2009

How much love is enough to give?

It's a question that I can't exactly find the words to ask or answer.

As a giver, sometimes I just don't start giving. Besides the obvious reasons that I'm busy, tired, or selfish, there's another couple of things at work. I have often hesitated to show a small act of love, because, well, it's just that: small. Why bring dinner over to the neighbor, when I will probably only do it once this season, and he really needs consistent meals and companionship? Why give just an hour of my time at the school, when what the kids really need is a consistent helper? Why give my husband a measly card, when I know that he'd really love at least some sort of gift that cost something? Why pause to worship God for three minutes a day when I should be worshipping him with my every minute and whole life?

Why do I think that way? Maybe it's because I don't want to look small in my love to those I'm giving to. Maybe some of it is the Bible/church messages that I've heard, read, pondered about how the worst possible Jesus follower is a lukewarm one, that love must be crazy, free, abundant, and sold out to be worth anything. (On the flip side, there are certainly times Jesus says that giving a cup of water to a kid is worth quite a bit though...what about that?)

Lately, I've had a glimmer of an answer as I've received love. In the preparations for these babies coming, I find that not one gesture of love and kindness has left me saying - "man, they should have done more". The big acts of love are amazing. And so are the small ones. A phone call or email, an outfit or two in the mail, one random morning of babysitting, even just an offer of help. Each of those acts tells me that on that given day, someone stopped for an hour or so to think of me and love me. I need both: to be loved extravagantly, but also loved in the littlest bits. A little bit sure beats never knowing that they thought of me at all, you know? And a lot of little bits together adds up to quite a lot.

My experience as recipient of others' love lately is nudging me to give a little more readily, even when the gift seems too small. As a giver yourself, I hope that you aren't held back by wishing you could give just a little more, because I appreciate anything!

But I still wonder - is "loving a little" the best place to start, or simply making way for selfishness and keeping something back from God and others? I don't know...


Jenn said...

i tend to do the same thing.

i tend to 'overgive' meaning, i give too much because i dont think my little i can give is enough or i give what i think is important and not necessarily what that person really needs.

i think also part of giving, that i am learning, is to wait for the right time.

maybe when and if i learn this i will also find that my little is just perfect because it fits.

thanks for your thoughts! :) i always enjoy reading them! :)

Don said...

Perhaps you're not the one to judge the sufficiency of the gift?

Jesus said, "Let her alone; why do you bother her? She has done a good deed to Me. ...She has done what she could."

Unless He is prompting you to greater love... perhaps the inner critic needs to be told to hold its peace.

I find great comfort in the saying, "Quit apologizing to God why you're not what He never asked you to be."

I paraphrase the Bible passage above, "Leave her alone... she hath done what she could."

Little love, great love... perhaps the adjective is not as important as the noun.

Love ya! (How much?)

"This much... and in the middle!"

Is that "enough"?

Or is "enough" even a good question?

When thinking of having a third child, I wondered, "Will I have enough love to include another?"

Love multiplies without taking away from the others. (I had plenty!)

I know people who say, "Give them all my love." (And they don't run out!)


Good post.