Wendy Wolfgang, a longtime friend, and I have discovered something: it’s fun to give away your favorite things. Awhile back I had mailed Wendy a couple of my favorite CDs. I just had a hunch she had never heard these particular musicians and that she would love their music as much as I love it. Mind you, I didn’t just recommend the music to her or send her new copies of the CDs from Amazon — I gave her my personal copies, lovingly touched by my own hands for many years. Wendy has now reciprocated by mailing me one of her all-time favorite books and a CD, both of which I already love. The thought that these physical objects were among her treasured possessions makes them all the more special to me.
Is there not some wisdom here? Isn’t this a good idea, to give away the things that mean the most to us? If it’s more blessed to give than to receive (Ac. 20:35), that means that we get more joy out of giving something away than we would from keeping it ourselves!
You have to be careful here, of course. I have learned by bitter experience that there is nothing more heartbreaking than to try to share something that is extremely important to you — only to find out the other person didn’t like it very much or they didn’t see anything very special about it. So you have to know someone well enough to judge rightly whether they will love the thing you share with them.
On the other hand, Jesus gave His life for a multitude of people most of whom will never appreciate the gift or see what was so special about it. But giving should not be entirely dependent on the response. There is a joy in the pure act of giving something important to us — even when the response is less than what was desired.
And there is nothing that quenches the joy of life in this world any more than the greedy, grasping attitude that says, “This is mine.” Abraham would have learned that truth (if he didn’t know it already) when he was commanded to offer up Isaac to the Lord (Gen. 22:1-19)?
C. S. Lewis said it well, I think: “Nothing that you have not given away will ever really be yours.”
Think about it.