I have a very diverse life. I have been blessed to experience many aspects of life. I have had full-time jobs, part-time jobs, and non-paying jobs. I am a wife, a mother a friend. And as I write this, I notice that my first three sentences all begin ‘I have’. My thoughts run to “how selfish am I to be thinking about what ‘I have’ instead of what I can do, or be, or give.’
And that makes me laugh because my family is very conscious of our giving both in time and finances to organizations and people who are less fortunate than our family. So why is it that I look at those sentences and cringe and think of the selfishness of the word have?
The first definition of have in the Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary is…’to hold or maintain as a possession, privilege, or entitlement: to hold in one’s use, service, regard or at one’s disposal.’ The definition goes on but it never sounds positive. Further down in the definition it actually says that it can mean to ‘take advantage of: TRICK, FOOL (as in been had by his partner).’ One of the only positive spins I see in the wordage has to deal with marriage ‘to accept marriage’. No wonder I felt a little queasy after seeing the first three sentences I wrote.
So I go one step further and find Roget’s Thesaurus hoping for some affirmation that have is not a bad word and should not need to be struck from my vocabulary. I begin to think how hard it is going to be to find words or phrases that can replace the word have. I am somewhat pleased that the first word to replace have in the thesaurus is understand. Okay, that is a good word. The next word sends me in the dumps again…possess…ugh, the third word include, YEA! I continue looking at the thesaurus and see that there are over four and a half pages, or approximately 1000, have phrases in which the thesaurus gives alternative wording.
I don’t want to think that have is a bad word. I have many things and I know that means a lot in our ability to give. It says in the Bible (paraphrase) to those who have been given much, much will be expected. I believe that one reaps the other (my words) because I have, I can give. Because I give, I have. I do believe that I am blessed because of my trying to be of service to others.
You cannot give what is not there. I find time to give to volunteer organizations because it is important to me. When my children were young, I was their Girl Scout and/or Cub Scout leader. Before we started homeschooling, I volunteered at their school.
If something is important, you can find the time; you find a way to fit it in to your schedule even if it is stuffing envelopes at your home after the kids are in bed. I used to tell people why I volunteered so much was to make up for those who did not have the time. I did not have a full-time job so I was more flexible than those who worked full-time.
Sometimes, the unimportant things get pushed to the side temporarily. I think that is the personality of many women; they sacrifice themselves for others and say that there will always be time for themselves when their children get older. While I would really like to spend my days quilting, there are more important things that I can be doing to help impact lives and our community.
I believe that I am doing all I can. I devote many hours to volunteering. As my children get older, my volunteer focus changes. They don’t need me as much anymore and their activities don’t lend themselves to needing me as a volunteer. But my giving does not stop, it just evolves.
In this season of giving, it would be nice if everyone took the time to look at their life, see how it impacts their family, their community, our world. If everyone, and I mean everyone, gave up one hour a week (on average) to help someone, to help an organization, think of the millions of hours that will have been given to better our world. It is just an hour, 52 hours over the year, just a little more than 1.25 of a work week, to make this place we call home, better.
Now don’t get me wrong; I am not asking everyone to restrict their volunteering to one hour a week. I would love it if everyone who is not already volunteering began donating an hour a week. I know there are people out there that do not give anything for one reason or another. Volunteering is not limited to adults, children as young as five can find something to do. The Girl Scout program and Cub Scout program provide many opportunities for service.
This is the only world I know. The way that I treat it, I believe, has an impact on how I live and feel and how the world and its inhabitants feel about me. If I see something that needs to be done and feel passionate about it, if I do not act, who will?
If someone sees a small fire and does not put it out, the end result can be destructive and deadly. How many small fires do we see throughout our day, that if we would just act, could be squelched and stopped in a short time? How many of those small fires are allowed to burn and destroy so much? We see it all of the time during the dry season. If someone would have not dropped that cigarette or made sure that their campfire was extinguished… If someone would have addressed their angry feelings, immediately, instead of letting them smolder and grow into a ‘forest fire’, what a better world we would have.
Think about the things that you have. Do you have enough that you could share just a little to someone or an organization that has nothing? Let’s take our positive haves and help out those that have nothing.
This is totally not where this blog was going today but this is where I was led. I hope that everyone has a chance to be led where they have never thought and make an impact in ways they could never imagine.
Luke 12:48 ‘But someone who does not know, and then does something wrong, will be punished only lightly. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone have been entrusted with much, even more will be required.’ (New Living Translation)