07 February 2011

Women of a Generous Spirit

“All works of love are works of peace.”
– Mother Teresa

Even though it’s February, I still have one Christmas tree left up in my house. The reason is because the ornaments on the tree are peace signs and hearts.... so I guess it is still appropriate since Valentine’s Day is only a week away.

Did you know that the subject of the heart is addressed in the Bible more than any other topic – more than works, service, obedience, more than money, and even more than worship. We find out why this is so by reading the words of 1 Samuel 16:7, “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

According to Scripture, our heart can be many things. Unfortunately it can be troubled, grieved, forgetful, hardened, foolish, proud, and even broken, but thank God it can also be wise, cheerful, giving, thankful, glad, loving, joyful, and pure. When our heart houses the source of our “faith, hope, and love,” God’s peace can also take up residence there. And when a heart is filled to overflowing, it allows us to give in ways that not only impact others, but enrich our own lives. We become women of a generous spirit.

I’m sure we can all think of women that we admire, enjoy being around, and look to for advice or encouragement. My daughter is one of those women in my life. She is my biggest cheerleader, but also my most honest critic. There are times when she holds me accountable and other times that she gently reminds me to “be thankful” for what God is doing in my life. She has seen the best of me and the worst of me, but offers her love “unconditionally.” She gives of her time, talent, and resources, but expects nothing in return. She is a woman of a generous spirit.

Characteristics of such women include being a good listener, compassionate, non-judgmental, loving, sincere, gracious, and peace-filled. Their caring nature comes from a sincere heart that is overflowing with God’s love.

Women of a generous spirit ...

...encourage others through difficult and unsure times
...are excited to listen to our plans or share in our success stories
...seek out the lonely and try to get to know them, offering friendship and hope
...lift their friends up to God in prayer
... give humbly, without expecting anything in return
... give back to others because God’s grace has changed their lives
... understand their boundaries and realize that our human limitations can never limit God
... know what refreshes them and they don’t feel guilty taking time for those activities
... look to the Bible for spiritual nourishment and pray to God for discernment

We are all called to testify to the reality of Jesus’ work in and through our lives, but we are not all called to witness in the same way. Our lives are constantly changing. We experience times of service, times of rest and times of growth. We need to acknowledge when it is time to give, and also when we need self-imposed time for receiving. Our 2011 journey is one of seeking more of God’s peace, but along the way, our time with God can help us change from self-focused women, into women of a “generous spirit.” You and I may never know the difference we make in the lives of others, but remember, God looks at the heart!

In her book, Women of a Generous Spirit, Lois Mowday Rabey said, “Our lifestyles will be forever changed as long as we allow him to fill us up so we can give from that overflow. He will fill you and use you. You will touch others. When they hear your name, they will say, She is a woman of a generous spirit!" (See Resource Page for info).

Check out my blog on Friday to meet one very special woman of a generous spirit.

Until then, be a blessing and be blessed...
God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

“We cannot hold a torch to light another's path without brightening our own.”
- Ben Sweetland

No comments: