Saturday, December 03, 2005

Gratitude and Giving

I watched the sleet come and go this afternoon with some disappointment. I like the way it peppers the windows and makes me want to snuggle up to one of my critters (or maybe even my wife). My house is a warm little place with lots of happy stuff trotting around like a pack of puppies. But, I’m grateful that the sleet didn’t get worse and make the highways slick. The foul weather always helps me get into Christmas too and when it hits this time of year, I think about all the good things in my life that comforts and warms me. It makes me want to give.
I think it’s interesting that the season of giving and light follows the season of gratitude. Gratitude is a spiritual discipline. When we practice gratitude, giving always seems to follow The kind that attracts me is the gratitude that shows respect for my effort to give, and for the meaning of the gift.
There’s a restaurant in my area of ministry that I always go to. One day I got excellent service and tipped accordingly. From then on, I began getting better and better service and my tips got higher and higher. Now when I go in, I don’t even have to order. “Find yourself a seat, Honey,” the waitresses drawl. “That’ll be ice water with lemon and a course chopped sandwich with lettuce and tomato. Right?” Right. My sandwiches are just a little thicker now and once in a while, I notice my desert doesn’t show up on the ticket. There’s a relationship between me and the girls that work there based on appreciation for each other. They go beyond what good employees are supposed to do and I go beyond what good customers are supposed to do. There’s a mutual attitude of gratitude and giving that’s mature and equal.
Is it possible to live all areas of our lives this way? Can we be parents and lovers and friends and children with a mutual attitude of gratitude and giving? Is it possible to drive our highways this way? To allow someone in and thank with a wave when they let us in? Is it possible to do business this way? Can we give a good deal as well as we get one? Can we set a fair price for good value? Can we be good employees and employers giving and taking with mutual respect? Can I work a little harder to save the company money and can my employer give me a few hours to get a child from day care?
Must I always get before I give? I believe that my attitude of gratitude is a spiritual exercise and it comes before any gift I might receive. I’m grateful first and out of that I give—not because I was given a gift and therefore I owe one in return. The waitresses at my favorite barbecue joint didn’t expect a better tip than usual, they just did a good job and I was grateful. Gratitude generates giving. When we give out of the expectation of a gift in return, we’re looking for payment.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home