“Give what you have. To someone, it may be better than you dare to think” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Paul tells us that we cannot give what we do not have. He puts it this way: “For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted accord­ing to what one has, and not according to what he does not have”.

All too often we do not give what we could. God does not expect us to give what we haven’t got, but how willing are we to share with others that which we do have?

Are we talking about money? Yes, but not only money. Our time and energy, especially when fo­cused on caring for others, are even more valuable than our money. Do we give to someone else what we can give? Do we drop a note of encouragement to those who are grieving? Do we visit someone in hospital or nursing home? Just a phone call to a shut in may give them a lift, better than we dare to think, according to Longfellow.

There is a true story about a young boy walk­ing home from school who was so despondent he planned to commit suicide that afternoon. Another thoughtful young lad invited him to stop off at his home to play a game. He accepted, and was so encouraged by this simple act of friendship that he changed his mind about taking his life. Like Longfellow said, what the thoughtful young lad did was far better than he would have dared to think.

Jesus tells us that just to give a cup of cold water in his name will be remembered. Do we give what we can to those we know and meet? It might only be a smile but we have it and we can share it.

It is a terrible thing to hoard the things we should be giving away. Be it money that can mean so much to someone in need, a cup of cold water, a kind word, a smile – it may not seem like much to us but it can be the difference between life and death to someone else.

The change in our pocket represents a day’s work or maybe even a week’s work in some places. Water may seem insignificant to us, but to someone else who is dying of thirst, our cup offered to them makes all the difference in the world. We never know what heavy burdens another is carrying. If we will only look around with caring eyes we will find many little acts of kindness that we can give which may mean more than we could ever imagine to others.

As Paul told us, there must first be the willing mind. If we are willing to share with others we can be a real blessing far beyond our wildest dreams as we give what we have, for “God loves a cheerful giver”.