I went to Battle Creek today to see my parents. Whereas it was not the first time I’ve seen them since the Pandemic began, it was the first time I was able to visit freely with them without having to wear masks, limit our time and stay across the room from them. They are both fully vaccinated now and I am within 5 days of being fully vaccinated. What a joy to spend time with them in their home.
It was also the first time Theo (my Bassett) got to meet Abby, their new rescue dog. Abby is about 18 months old and is a Corgi mix, although I think she just looks Corgi. She’s a nice dog and Theo is a nice dog, but I wasn’t sure how they would do together. They started off well enough with sniffing and tail wagging, but within a few minutes Theo spotted Abby’s rawhide bone and took the whole thing in his mouth. That set off some growling and snapping. I managed to get the bone back from Theo and put it on the mantel, but the dogs immediately started snapping at other Abby toys scattered about the living room. Abby was not interested in sharing “her” toys. We quickly gathered up all of the toys and put them beyond reach. Suddenly the dogs were quite content to play together. They chased each other and romped most of the three hours I was at my parent’s homes. They stopped only when they were completely breathless at which point they fell exhausted on the floor until one or the other of them had enough energy to start the play all over again. By the end of my visit they were pretty funny to watch. They would fall all over each other for about three minutes and then rest for five. I think Theo will sleep well tonight.
I was thinking, however, about the initial troubles we had with the dogs. Dogs just aren’t willing to share what they believe is theirs. I wonder about people. Do we have trouble sharing? We teach our children at an early age that it’s nice to share. Children, however, don’t take to sharing much better than dogs. But at some point usually in late elementary school, children share something or are generous with someone and they find that sharing is fun. It’s wonderful to give gifts or share what you have with someone just to see the joy and wonder on that person’s face. I remember going through this phase with each of my sons when they loved to give gifts away or even give away their money. I would give them an allowance and they would immediately seek to spend it on a gift for someone they cared about. I used to worry they would never learn to manage their money, but I didn’t want to quash their generous spirit.
I believe any inclinations we have to be generous comes from God who has been most generous with us – so generous, in fact, that God did not withhold his son from us. “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3: 16) There isn’t anyway we can compete with such a gift, but we can imitate such generous love. Generosity is learned by watching generous others. I recommend looking to our Lord as the model. Go ahead an count all the ways God has been generous with you and see if it inspires a generous spirit in you.
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