My definition of frou-frou coffee is the only kind my husband gets at a coffee shop. The kind with whipped cream at the top drizzled with caramel or chocolate. The kind that is more of a dessert and is loaded with extra calories. The kind that costs $4.65 rather than a regular cup for $1.65.
But like every good cup of frou-frou coffee, the best part is the top! You sip the whipped cream to have it give you a mustache and the caramel never tasted so sweet! It's only when you get to the bottom that the cream and caramel is gone and there's the rarity of finding coffee grinds or simply just the bottom of the mug.
Giving is like a cup of frou-frou coffee. I want to give from the overflow of the cup (my heart). I don't want to just be a cup of regular joe. I want to be the whipped cream and the sweet caramel. The idea sounds so nice, right?
Elijah's birthday was 6 weeks ago and he received a few Target gift cards from family. Like any child, he couldn't wait to get to the toy section of the store. As we were driving to Target, Elijah asked his brothers what would they get at Target if they had a gift card. (Now in my mind I'm thinking this is a sick joke Elijah is playing on his younger brothers, but I allowed conversation to continue.) Asher, of course, said baseball and Sam spatted out a list he had been keeping in his head in case the question ever presented itself.
"I'll tell you what, I will get you each something with my gift cards," Elijah said.
"Now Elijah, that's very nice of you, but this is your birthday gifts. Their birthdays are coming up soon. I don't want you to promise them something that you can't keep." I was trying to avoid a backfire.
After I gathered a few items at the store, we carted over to the toy section and looked around with our hands touching every toy, of course.
"Asher, what do you want to get?" Elijah was serious. I couldn't believe this.
"Baseball!" Asher shouted. We
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traveled with the cart down to the sports section. Asher picked up a glove his size.
"Ok, Asher. Now Sam, what do you want?" Elijah asked.
"I wanna go back and look at the toys!" Sam said excitedly.
Sam picked out a Star Wars action figure.
Elijah then took time to pick out a Star Wars Lego set and we all made it to the checkout counter.
As a parent, I was still in shock at all that I just witnessed. Elijah didn't learn generosity from me. How is it that he spends his birthday money first and foremost on his brothers and then uses the rest for himself? How did he arrive at this thought in the first place? He didn't owe them anything. He didn't say, "Mom, I've learned many great things from you, one being how you always put others first!"
Selfishness comes natural. Generosity is learned.
I turn back over my shoulders and see my father-in-law, Mr. Joe, who quietly and humbly gives his life and his resources to those in need. He gives to his children and by doing so, Ben, my husband, has learned generosity. I see my mom who would give the very pink jacket off her
back if needed. "I don't need anything," she says, "But let me get you something." Her generosity stretches to missionaries overseas to the poor children in her town. I see hundreds of people who are giving to our church in the city. I see other family members and friends. I see lives of long ago whose generosity stories live on.
The only way I can see if generosity is being learned and applied in my own life is to look forward. Whose lives am I investing in? How am I selflessly serving my husband? Will my children rise up and call me blessed? (Proverbs 31) What needs are around me that pierce my heart and move me to action?
Looking back are the examples. Looking forward is the need. Looking back is the example of my 7 year old. Yet my son is still before me as the need. That's the wonderment of God. Through His grace (getting something we don't deserve) and the gift of today, I have the privilege of practicing generosity again.
How can we be the whipped cream and the sweet caramel? It begins in the heart. My heart (the cup) must first be emptied out of selfishness, greed, jealousy, anger, bitterness, apathy, and other grinds. This happens when I surrender my selfish desires and ask God to make me new and fill me to overflowing with His love, His patience, His kindness, His goodness. It's still me, the regular cup of joe, but it's Christ in me "who works to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose." Philippians 2:13
He's what makes us sweet and He's worth whatever the cost!