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Thankfulness, Giving, and Speaking Well

February 5, 2007

So, the day after I was fired, we had our weekly night watch community meeting. At the end of the meeting, Stuart gave an exhortation to the night watch staff. He called us to a season of thankfulness, hilarious giving, and speaking well of one another.

The exhortation could not have had better timing.

In the area of thankfulness, this was something that I had really been feeling lately. I was realizing my amazing gratitude for the relationships that God has placed me in. I generally have great times with people in this community, but in the last week, there has just been this additional measure to it. I have walked away from spending time with my friends feeling amazingly edified and encouraged. It has been such a blessing. I am so grateful for this community. I am so grateful for what we do.

I also found myself strangely thankful for my present circumstances… which (at least on the surface) amount to a REALLY bad week. But God has taken these things and He is doing some really serious stuff in my heart. It’s all part of His perfect leadership.

And… my recent gratitude kick (well, I’m hoping this isn’t just a phase but is really just becoming a lifestyle) kind of ignited about a week ago, when I wrote this extremely random blog about things I love. It’s really more of a quick list than a real post.

The call to “hilarious giving” was also particularly well-timed for me. Stuart told everyone in the room who needed $25 to raise their hands. Having just lost a huge chunk of money for the next week, I kind of hesitantly poked my hand up there. My friend pushed my arm up higher for me.

People have really been rising to the challenge to give extravagantly. As of tonight (less than 30 hours after the meeting), it looks like I am going to be OK for the month of February… thanks to God’s provision through this amazing community. That gives me a month to get a lot of hard work done to prepare for the month of March. It really does amaze me, the way money moves around in this community. People here really do buy into the value of giving.

And God’s goodness goes even further… As Stuart was talking about giving, I was standing there whining to God about the fact that I didn’t have any money to give anyone. And there was someone in particular who I had previously made a mental note to give $12.50 (I know, it’s an odd number, but that’s what I wanted to give her.) Not being able to respond to Stuart’s call was heartbreaking, but especially when I realized that I did not have the $12.50 to give to the girl I had wanted to bless.

Well… someone handed me $10 as I was leaving the meeting, and then I ran into this girl. When I saw her, she went to hand me $3.50 (what she presently had of $4 I had forgotten that I recently loaned her to fill her gas tank). When she went to give me the money, I realized that I had the $10 in my pocket and was able to tell her to keep the money and take the ten. You have no idea how much that blessed me!!! (And… it was the $12.50 I wanted to give her… plus what you could call a $1 tithe on the firstfruits of what God was providing in the midst of my need.) Do you know how much it meant to me to be able to give to someone else’s need like that? It was only by His goodness that I had the money to give her. He knew the desire of my heart.

And… finally… we arrive upon the topic of speaking well of one another. It’s almost too perfect, the timing of Stuart’s little exhortation concerning this. Let me explain…

First of all, the issue of speech has been a pretty big topic with my friends and I lately. Seriously, it’s coming up a lot in our conversations. But that’s not the interesting part…

On Friday night (just prior to my painful experience of being “let go”), I had a truth talk with an amazingly prophetic, stunningly insightful, and truly wise friend who has no hesitation in telling it like it is. I left that conversation with a good grasp of several things I needed to stop doing, things I needed to start doing, and things I needed to repent for doing. (And a sober realization that, in the coming days, I was going to be eating a lot of “humble pie.”)

Prime among these things was a little clean-up work I needed to do related to a specific apology I told her I felt like I needed to make. In essence… my failure to bridle my tongue led to a great deal of negative speech about a particular individual. (Anyone who knows the happenings of the last year in my life, or has been the hearer of said unbridled speech, will have no trouble guessing who this individual might be. And… as it turns out, many people fall into that category of the “hearers”.)

So, Friday night I made a list of names–names of the people who I knew I had spoken to in an inappropriate, negative way concerning this individual. It was a really overwhelming list (primarily because it was soooo incredibly long). But I resolved that I was going to apologize to each of these people, repent for my words, and speak well of this person. Which does not mean in any way that I did not have many moments in which I wanted to back out of this plan. So… Stuart’s little emphasis on speaking well of each other was really timely when he gave it that next night. Kind of gave me the extra nudge I needed to continue to go through with my plan. (I had cried through 4 out of the first 5 conversations. And these were the people who would probably be easiest to talk to about it. Since those first few, I am crying less while talking to them. It’s just shifted to the times before and after these little conversations take place.)

So… go figure… God is doing something in us corporately as a night watch community… and, once again, it completely lines up with the things that are happening in my individual life. This whole “body” thing is for real. 🙂

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5 comments

  1. WoW! Are you being tutored in the Sermon on the Mount! It’s beautiful to hear your heart! We all struggle with these things. Reading your post makes me want to search my own heart to find any areas I need to ask God for help dealing with.
    thanks,
    tracy


  2. i like you.
    it’s true.


  3. 😀


  4. oh looky. i got a blog.

    i’m such a tool these days…


  5. Tracy – “tutored in”… That’s a great way to describe it (for many reasons). The fantastic thing in all of this, repentance really is freeing. I’m about 1/3 of the way through these conversations. (OK… who am I kidding. I am exactly 1/3 of the way through. I did the math.) There is something that’s good for my spirit in hearing the words again and again of “I forgive you.” It’s like these individual gestures are just echoing over and over the truth that God has forgiven and recieved me.

    Kacie – 100% mutual. For sure.

    Dad – 😀



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