Act 5: Favourite

What are your favourite things? Favourite film? Favourite coffee shop? A view where you go to be alone? Get ready to fly in the face of your impulses – and give those personal favourites away. Give away the novel. Pass on the scarf you think someone would look fantastic in. Share the introvert hang-out spot.

Choose how you’ll complete today’s act:
Share a favourite. Think of a favourite book, film, piece of music, or recipe. It might seem small, but sharing your own enthusiasm is part of the fun.

Share an experience. Think of a favourite walk, bike ride, or local hangout. Take a recipe you’ve loved cooking for years, and make it for someone else.

Share sacrificially. Share a favourite restaurant, or tickets to your favourite artist/show/sports team with someone. Push past expectations and pick up the bill.

“You will be enriched in every way so that you may be generous on every occasion, which is producing through us thanksgiving to God, because the service of this ministry is not only providing for the needs of the saints but is also overflowing with many thanks to God.”
(2 Corinthians 9:11–12 NET)

Your thought for today:

My eight-year-old daughter Hannah constantly gives her stuff away. Seriously, we can’t stop her. Generosity is something we have tried to instil in her from the get-go. But nowadays, the whole generosity issue has become a bit… well, love-hate for us.

‘Hannah, darling, where is the new dress Mum got for you last week?’

‘Oh, urm,’ she replies, ‘well, Mom, Rileigh really loved it and I’d already worn it once and I’m thankful that you got it for me. Really. But Rileigh just looked so pretty in it, and, well, see… I gave it to her.’

My children – products of a solicitor-turned-vicar and a counsellor – rarely give short answers when they feel they need to provide ‘submissions’.

Han gives away anything and everything: to friends, church members, and… in spite of some bewildered looks, has even happily given things to total strangers in the past. Beautifully unaware that this is #awkward.

Bear in mind, we’re probably one of the least financially robust families within our community. Her friends don’t NEED her clothing, toys, jewellery, etc. They just like them, or ‘look pretty’ in them. Hannah recognises this and acts accordingly.

And… it’s catching on. Her friends have started reciprocating. Clothes, jewellery, shoes, you name it. Some of Han’s friends who are a bit more flush have begun just handing out cold hard cash – of the ‘pocket money’ variety. And my kids are only too happy to accept. I keep coming back in from playdates, handing my mates $1’s and $5’s with a knowing look: ‘They’re at it again.’ On one level it’s not necessarily appropriate but on another level it’s sweet to see because what we’re really witnessing is that generosity is contagious.

As adults, we can think about generosity purely in terms of money. But generosity is far richer and more personal than that. Hannah and her friends are on the way to learning that.

One of my favourite things is a ‘giving key’ necklace. The purpose of the necklace is to pass it on. But I love it. I’d rather buy a new one for someone than part with my own. Selfish much? The WHOLE POINT of this jewellery is to GIVE it away. It’s IN the actual name. God enriches us in so many ways to be generous, we just need to respond. As for my necklace – I know what Hannah would do.

Written by Kat Shuttleworth
Kat Shuttleworth lives in Pittsburgh, where she leads the women’s ministry at Christ Church Fox Chapel. She is also currently leading two Bible studies and supporting a shelter for homeless veterans. Prior to that she lived in London and New York where she worked as a social worker with vulnerable children and in prison ministry. She is married to Alex, a pastor; they have two children, Ben (9) and Hannah (8), and a smelly dog, Rugby (3 – which is 21 in dog years).

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