Fast 5: The Open Hand of 3rd John

open hands

This week my “hands” have been “closed.” What do I mean by that? That, at the exact moment when my hands should be offering goodness and kindness openly, without reservation, I am getting judgmental, self-protective, and downright selfish. I shake my head, almost literally, that someone who’s been on the planet as long as I have, still struggles with such a lousy attitude.

How did I “contract” such a lousy attitude? It actually came about for some pretty valid reasons. Do you see any of this in your past?

1. I lived in a modest home where economizing was key to being self-sufficient and to survival.

2. I grew up in a Christian home and was often easy prey for con artists.

3. As the youngest child and only girl by a “long shot,” I grew accustomed to getting the items on my wish list for birthdays and Christmas, despite # 1.

4. I’m three-quarters Scot–thriftiness and saving are two highly touted values in my family.

To be fair, my Christian parents did give a lot to their church and other good charitable causes, despite not having a lot left over at the end of the month, financially. But, for some reason, I didn’t seem to fully absorb this example. Such a lack of recognition on my part stemmed from people taking advantage of me financially early in my adult life. No one enjoys looking like a fool when someone scams them, myself included.

And I do enjoy people giving me thoughtful presents. Probably more than I should. What can I say? I’m American and I’m female!

But 3rd John speaks “loudly” about having an “open hand.” It applauds selfless giving and not thinking about the possible negative consequences “down the line.” Why?

Because if we truly trust God to take care of all of our needs, then we will receive “countless gifts” (some tangible and some intangible) in the future. I’m not saying that having an open hand is going to make the giver a millionaire someday! I’m just saying that God knows exactly who will distribute the wealth of the world to help those in need and who will not. Why would he not entrust more of His resources to those who will see that they get used wisely? God also knows that those with an open hand do much more than give other people a financial “leg up.”

Openly giving creates opportunities to demonstrate how the love of God transforms lives. Such transformations are going to garner curiosity about God. And God will use that curiosity to bring additional people into His Kingdom. That’s the ultimate “dividend” He’s anxiously seeking.

One other component about open or closed hands has just hit me….almost literally. When one closes his or her hand, it’s a fist. A fist is a symbol of anger, violence, hatred, frustration, and selfishness. It’s a demand for things to be the way we want them to be instead of the way God wants them to be–a world full of joy, peace, love, patience and generosity.

And making a fist means tensing every bone, muscle, and nerve on that side of my body. It’s a stressor! In other words a fist is not good for me and my well-being! 

So, this week I am going to do my best to pry open those remarkably stubborn and strong fingers of mine and welcome the world with an open hand. I even intend to have some financial and material gifts in that hand from time to time. If I get scammed, I’m going to trust God to deal with that. If I am a little “stretched” financially, I’m going to trust that God knows my my needs far better than I do and will find  a way for me to have those necessary items. (And maybe MaryAnn needs to have a garage sale for the unused stuff clogging her closets, drawers, and cabinets!)

Yes, I still intend to investigate a charitable organization’s fiscal responsibility and whether a person or organization’s material and financial needs are being met through other kind individuals and generous organizations, but I’m going to get off my “high-horse” of trying to determine whether or not someone “deserves” my kindness. That last part just smacks of hubris and probably means I’m trying to play God!

Why would I even want to be God? God has such a daunting job that it makes the U.S. Presidency look like “naptime.” I should let the Ruler of the Universe actually rule and just do my part to help him locate some human dividends.

I might need a divine “map” for locating “dividends.” It’s pretty difficult to hold a map with a fist.

Friday’s Post: An unusual “My Favorite Things”

You Might Also Like: Fast Five: No Con 2nd John; Fast Five: Philemon Philosophy; and Fast Five: Oh, bad Obadiah

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014 at 10:50 am and is filed under God stuff. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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