Who Holds the “Watch”?

by Terri Gillespie

Do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. Hebrews 13:16 TLV

Have you ever watched children playing? There are mostly natural sharers—who willingly sacrifice their toys to be able to play with someone else. Then there are those who don’t understand the value of sharing. They hold that toy so tightly, maybe to the point of fighting the other child to keep what is theirs.

I was in the company of four young sisters last year. Three of them were fascinated with my watch. I allowed the eldest, who was five, to wear it first. She was careful—actually, she was quite clever figuring out its functions. She undoubtably would have worn it for some time, except her younger sister fussed about a turn.

But older sister wasn’t quite finished with her time.

When I suggested she share my watch with her sister, she said she didn’t want to.

But after staring at the watch a few seconds, she then willingly and sweetly placed the watch on her sister’s wrist. Oh, how I wish I could have peeked inside that young brain to see how she came to that decision in such a short period of time.

I’ve been thinking about that; how tightly I hold onto things. Not just physical things, but time—my private time. Because as an introvert, I need time away from people to recharge. It is too easy to become stingy and not share my time much at all.

In verse 14 (TLV), the writer of Hebrews reminds the Jewish believers,

“For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the one that is to come.”

Let’s think about that. If this is not our “city”—our home—then all this “stuff” really isn’t ours to begin with. We certainly can’t take it with us.

As I think about the tug-of-war that happens with children when they want the same toy, I wonder how often I do that very thing. How often do I want to take credit for an idea—when the Creator of the Universe is the Author of all great ideas? What about my home? Do I hold that too tightly? Or realize that I am but the responsible steward, and that it should be shared through hospitality?

I have a friend who taught me the phrase, Hold things lightly. Isn’t that great? Because when we hold things lightly, there is no tug-of-war. No squabbles over who holds “the watch.”

Like the older sister, she knew the watch wasn’t hers, and that I had shared it with her. So, when I asked her to share—even though it was a sacrifice to relinquish the fascinating toy—she did it. And when I thanked her and praised her for sharing, the sweet smile and hug was precious.

So, next time our Heavenly Father wants us to share our “watch,” it’s okay to acknowledge that it is a sacrifice, but it is more important to remember the watch is His.

This article brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Award-winning author and speaker, Terri Gillespie writes stories of faith and redemption to nurture souls. Her novels, devotionals, messages, and blogs have drawn readers to hunger for a deeper relationship with their Heavenly Father, because of His Son Jesus. Her book, Really Bad Hair Day won the 2022 Golden Scroll for Contemporary Novel of the Year.

Really Bad Hair Day (Book 3 of The Hair Mavens series) The Mavens bring their sense of style of really good hair out into the community and to the homeless. But as much as the ladies want to help others, they discover they need help, too or they may lose a maven. And, yes, the final book answers whether or not Shira and Jesse get married.

Join the conversation: What seems like a sacrifice for you to share?


Birthdays Matter

by Cherrilynn Bisbano

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Hebrews 13:16 ESV  

August is my birth month.

My birthday was my day.  A special day set aside just for me. But something changed on my 45th birthday.  

We lived in New Hampshire.  My husband was out of work, money was tight.  My husband was sad because he could not get me a birthday present. We rarely exchange gifts anyway. I had a long talk with God about this whole gift giving idea. A person should never feel pressured to give a gift.

I continued my conversation with my Abba as I drove to the grocery store. 

While in line, I noticed the woman in front of me as she fumbled through her purse. She did not have enough money and looked embarrassed. I’ve been in that same situation and I usually put items back.

“Here, take this.” 

I handed a ten-dollar bill to the young man at the cash register. It was the rest of our food budget after I purchased the items in my cart. “No! I can just put the ice cream back.” the woman said without making eye contact.

“Not the ice cream, it’s my birthday today, the best present I could get is to buy ice cream for someone else.”  The words came out before I could stop them.

“Happy Birthday!”  The young man at the register and the woman said in unison.

“Thank you!  Now, you would not want to deny me this present on my birthday, would you?”

I loved the confused looks on both of their faces as the woman walked away, with her groceries, including the ice cream. I purchased my groceries and headed home. Joy filled my heart and I thanked God for the wonderful birthday gift.

I shared the story with my husband and son. “From now on I am going to give on my birthday.  The gift I get in return is far more precious than anything money can buy!”

I rarely tell anyone I do this. I am not trying to promote myself or get an “atta girl”.But, how can I keep such a wonderful blessing from you?

I want to challenge you to give on your birthday.

“Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’” (Acts 20:35 ESV).

The best part—don’t tell anyone you are doing it.  What an amazing secret between you and God. I know many of you already give to the poor and needy.  God sees that.  Will you go one step further? Will you join me and give on a day people least expect? All the Glory goes to God!

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Cherrilynn Bisbano is an award-winning writer and speaker. As a certified Christian Life Coach Minister, and Ordained Minister, she aims to share the love of Christ wherever God leads. Cherrilynn is a speaker with Women Speakers. She contributes to the Blue Ridge Writers blog, is published in four compilations books, and her book Shine Don’t Whine released in 2020. Cherrilynn served in the military for twenty years, earning the John Levitow Military leadership award. She lives with her 19-year-old son Michael, Jr., and her husband of 22 years, Michael. She fondly calls them her M&M’s.

Join the conversation: How do you celebrate your special day?

Bread, Salt, Wine, Food, Flavor, Joy

by Nancy E. Head @NancyEHead

 “Bread, so that this house may never know hunger. Salt, that life may always have flavor. . . Wine that joy and prosperity may reign forever.”

In the movie It’s a Wonderful Life, George and Mary Bailey offer the housewarming gifts of bread, salt, and wine to the Martini family. A large family, the Martinis purchase their home only because of George Bailey’s friendly business dealings.

George heads a wobbly savings and loan, spending his days in a shabby little office believing his life has no value. Recipients of George’s generosity know better. In the end, George realizes the magnitude of his Wonderful Life.

As a single mother of five, I frequently received “bread” from the generous hands of others. Some days were lean, some, dreadful. But many memories from those days reflect the well-flavored life.

One Thanksgiving, a Sunday school class provided our feast. Another year, a fellow churchgoer signed our family up for her company’s Christmas outreach. Sometimes, we would find a box of food on our front porch. But it wasn’t just food and goods. People gave us the opportunity to sit together and enjoy bounty. There was joy in knowing others cared, joy in celebrating our blessings.

After I remarried, life became more financially secure. Now we can be George Baileys to others, offering bread to enhance their lives. But giving never goes in one direction. Giving adds flavor to our lives too.

With ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, we decided a few years ago that our dining room table was too small. We yearned for extra room for side dishes and elbows. So we found a carpenter to build a new table with removable leaves to expand or contract as needed.

But in order to use furniture, you first must get it into the house.

Even in its smallest state, the table was too wide for our front door. We would have to hoist the table over the back rail deck. And that seemed impossible unless we could get someone to help.

The best candidate seemed to be the young man who had just moved in next door. He was strong, and he was home. Upon asking for his help, we learned that he is a mover by trade. How perfect! The old table went out the back door and the new one came in.

We had planned to put the old one on the sidewalk with a “Free” sign on it. But we learned this neighbor and his wife had no table. Now they do.

He blessed us by helping. We blessed him by filling a need we hadn’t realized existed. Now his family can break bread as they sit together. Blessing comes in receiving and giving.

We know from Scripture we’re to love our neighbors. Matthew, Mark, Luke, Romans, Galatians, and James all tell us to “love your neighbor as yourself.” It’s hard today for many of us to know our neighbors, let alone love them. Maybe a quick conversation as we come and go will reveal a need we hadn’t been aware of. And perhaps the need is just that bit of time we give to show we care enough to ask how someone is doing and wait for an answer.

We can make a difference in our neighborhoods, in our communities. Christ has made us the salt to bring flavor and life to our world. In our giving, He gives back a flavored life.

And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.                                                Hebrews 13:16, NIV   

Bread, Salt, Wine, Food, Flavor, Joy – insight from @NancyEHead on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)                                                                         

nancy headAbout the author: Nancy E. Head is the author of Restoring the Shattered: Illustrating Christ’s Love Through the Church in One Accord. Once a single mother with five children under the age of 14, she now teaches middle school through college classesRestoring the Shattered: Illustrating Christ's Love Through the Church in One Accord and works in her community to lift those in need toward independence. Nancy is also a speaker at Christian Women Speakers.