Marjorie and Eleanor have been my companions throughout 2019. They have often spoken to me, sharing their spiritual journeys along with the hardships and trials of everyday life. Little glimpses into their stories reveal a beautiful Christian culture of faith and hope. These two girls aren’t complicated, nor do they live in a world of constant drama. Oh, their lives were acquainted with grief and sorrow, but they continued walking with their eyes on the Lord. I may have mentioned them before, but today I wanted to share a couple of jewels that put a bit of a Christmas challenge before us.
Let’s let Marjorie go first. She said, “One hour spent in writing really interesting cheerful letters to those you know to be unhappy and separated from family and friends, these are things almost anyone could do, and how worth while they would be. And yet, by careful planning to set aside a short period daily for the unnecessary but worthy task of spreading a little happiness and a knowledge of the truth about life as we know it is to refresh ourselves and to bring us to the experience of pure joy.”
How often do we reach out in this manner? I’d say we rarely do. We are moving too quickly for our own good and the good of others. While we may have a communication boom, it is having a scattergun effect. More and more people feel lonely and disconnected. I think it may have to do with the fact that very few of us take time to communicate with any real sense of purpose. We text and tweet with short, impersonal taps, all the while feeling the loneliness ourselves. Marjorie challenges us to send letters; to send more than a text, emoji, or a gif.
I know my mother-in-law looks forward to the postman. She cherishes handwritten messages she can read over and over and share with others. It doesn’t take long to compose a newsy note, and it can bring great cheer and encouragement to the reader. And, a bit of joy to your heart, making you feel just that bit more connected with loved ones.
What if we took time just once a week to write a note, purchase a nice little card, and lick a stamp? We would probably touch more hearts this way! And, I’m sure it would have more eternal value.
Eleanor also challenges us about giving, but with a bit of a different twist. While admonishing young women to give of their lives, she retorts, “Why should I give? Surely while I am young I should get all I can from life. Later on, perhaps, I will give.”
Then, she moves quickly to explain using a list of people who chose giving above getting, and who didn’t wait but took every opportunity for the benefit of others.
Peter said, “Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have I give thee” Acts 3:6.
Dorcas gave of her talents of sewing. Acts 9:36
Lydia, the businesswoman housed the disciples and the church. Acts 16:14, 15
Mary sacrificially gave her precious spikenard. Mark 14:3
And, the widow gave it all. Mark 12:44.
In none of these instances would we look back and say they were wasteful. While at the moment they gave, they might not have thought about the eternal usage of their gifts; we know the benefit of their example as it affords more treasure with each passing year.
So, with all our so-called giving, what are we really doing? Are we giving by written and spoken words of encouragement with thought and content to the lonely and separated? Are we giving our gifts out a pure heart of love without pretense or show? Are we honestly sacrificing a portion of our time and ourselves? Are we as much or more about giving than receiving?
Marjorie Wilkinson, Smiling at Life, p 40
Eleanor V. Woods, From Sunday Morning to Saturday Night, p 22