“I slept and I dreamed that life is all joy. I woke and I saw that life is all service. I served and I saw that service is joy.”   ― Kahlil Gibran

Joy is a hope usually equated with happiness, yet as Kahlil Gibran points out, joy is a state of being as well as a state of mind.  When we move outside of our own needs and wants, to serve others, then the possibilities for joy are beyond our dreams!

“The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be´- Jesus

Jesus, on the hillside with hundreds, and even thousands of people, described the different types of treasures someone can gather.  Part of the message describes things that can be eaten by moths, corroded by rust, or stolen.  ADT, car alarms, or locks, can only do so much if the things we treasure can become outdated, break down, or disappear.

Money, jewelry, cars, and houses, are part of everyday American life.  So what is a treasure?  Jesus considers treasure something larger than items to be consumed, worn, or stored.  Today, I look around and take an inventory of the beautiful things, whether in nature, memories of events, people, and relationships that remind me I am alive.  Like Jesus said, “It is obvious, isn’t it?  The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.”   During these 40 Days of Giving, enjoy the valuables all around, but when it comes to treasure, make sure you gather and share something that will last much longer.

(Scripture references from The Message interpretation of Matthew 6:19-21)

“You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving” –  Robert Louis Stevenson  

These words from another century from writer Robert Louis Stevenson have been re-spoken, reprinted, and re-organized, yet the message is very similar – giving without love is common.  We receive receipts without love from merchants.  Yet when we love, giving takes on an entirely different meaning.  Pop music is a type of social barometer especially when it comes to ideas about love.  Songs tell the stories of giving and taking, loving and marrying, cheating, and leaving, though usually not in that order or all in one song.  Yet if this all we hear about love, focused solely on intimate relationships, then it is difficult to consider the love needed to give without pairing with another person.  Love is broader than an object of affection to receive gifts.  Love is related to giving because one’s passions are connected.  What kind of passions do you have?  Equal rights, animal rescue, ending poverty, assisting addicts in recovery, youth, ending ignorance, addressing gun violence, or other issues?  We know that as individuals these issues are overwhelming.  Yet, our ability to participate and give relies upon our ability to express love.  Today, identify your passions.  Name them.  Choose one and offer a gift of yourself out of love.