Most people have heard the saying, “It’s more blessed to give than to receive,” (Acts 20:35), and we’re generally taught to give with pure motives, not expecting anything in return. However, there is one type of gift that I believe can often function as a “boomerang.” When you give it away, it often comes right back to you…
In my book, ASD to Z: Basic Information, Support, and Hope for People Living with Autism Spectrum Disorders, (a 50-page booklet newly revised and expanded in 2014) I have included information and insight for each letter of the alphabet. For the letter “F” I’ve written, “What is Friendship?” It’s a look at “friendly choices” people can make to give the gift of friendship to others (along with suggestions for combating bullying). In my work as a coach, parents often say to me, “My child doesn’t have any friends!” My response is usually to help them work with their child to emphasize “being a friend,” which often yields the return of friendly gestures from others.
How have you or others extended the gift of friendship recently? I have been overwhelmed in the last several weeks by gifts others have given to me. Here are a few examples:
- Suzanne, a Social Incites™ reader from Charlotte, Tennessee, had her church’s quilt ministry create a beautiful prayer quilt for me. A few weeks ago the church members tied knots in the quilt and specifically prayed the prayer I had requested, that I “would be more Christlike each day, surrendering myself to Him that I might be used to encourage and lead others to Him.” A fringe benefit that morning was that the extreme stomach pain I was experiencing disappeared and has not returned! Thank you, Suzanne and the members of Mt. Liberty Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and a special thank you to our Heavenly Father who used these long-distance friends to bless me!
- Last week my husband moved his parents’ furniture and other belongings from Pennsylvania to Michigan. When it came time to unload the trailer, my in-laws’ new neighbor, Peter, had shoveled the driveway to make room, and 18 church friends (including four teens and three children) showed up to unload the trailer. Many hands made light work…we were done in under an hour, just in time to enjoy dinner together!
- In the middle of a snowstorm just over a week ago, a snowplow unexpectedly drove into our driveway and cleared all the snow away…two nights in a row! We discovered the driver had been our friend, a local doctor, who was subbing for someone who plows snow for a living. Dr. Vance was “practicing” on our driveway, and because of the gift of his time and service, my kids and I didn’t have to go out and shovel late at night (in the dark and sub-zero temperatures) while my husband was out of town helping his parents!
- A new friend from Bible Study gave me a book by Beth Moore, Praying God’s Word. Even though Rachel was vacationing in Florida, she had the book mailed to me to encourage me and help me grow!
- Nicole pulled me aside after Bible Study a few weeks ago, and said, “I’d like you to have this!” She handed me the necklace she had been wearing around her neck, which contains a pretty pendant along with a tiny mustard seed, with the inscription “Matthew 17:20.”
- A. Ryskamp reviewed my ASD to Z book online…I appreciate people taking the time to let others know when my resources are helpful!
- Many of you took the time to write to me this week. Your emails are always a gift of friendship! I love to hear about your insights, encouragement, celebrations, struggles, questions, and dreams. Remember you’re always welcome to post comments on Facebook or below, also!
Like a boomerang, these gifts inspire me to give back. Sometimes I’m able to return friendly gestures directly to the original giver. Other times I pass one on to someone else.
I’m guessing most of you can also list “friendly gifts” which have been given to you, whether they were material possessions, or the gift of someone’s time, encouragement, practical assistance, or prayer. The question is, will you “boomerang” their gift by sending it back to them or someone else? If you are having difficulty listing gifts you’ve been given, maybe it’s time to consider how you can reach out to others to assist, encourage, or bless them.
The gift of friendship is a great way to make the world a better place, for others, and for ourselves!