Showing posts from January, 2012

head case

Just who are the needy, anyway?Where do I find them?Will theycome to me, or do I have togo looking?Are materialthings sufficient?Must I always share the gospel?What if that’s not my gift?What if I’m notnaturallya generous person?Do I give only when have something to share?What if I give so much of my own resources that I’m left with an inadequate supply?What if my efforts don’t really make a measurable difference?How much can one kind deed really accomplish anyway?What if the one to whom I reach out rejects me?  Spurns me?Tries to harm me?Tries to harm my kids


One of the best parts of teaching, for me, is the privilege of building relationships with students who bring all kinds of life experiences into the classroom with them. 
*  Eighteen-year-olds, fresh out of high school, some wishing to be at a four-year university instead of the community college, others not quite sure where they’re headed.
*  Twenty- and thirty-somethings, returning after a few years of work or military service with a little life under their belt, as well as hopes of bettering career options. 
*  Recently single moms, forced back into the workplace and in desperate need of further education. 
*   First-generation college students who are their parents’ hope and pride. 
Many of the students I teach are prepared, hungry for the opportunity to finally demonstrate their capability, ready to shine.  Some struggle with a range of challenges: procrastination; learning disabilities; runaway children; drug addiction; homelessness. 
I can’t say I’ve seen it all, but sometime…

Discriminating Generosity

Teacher Talk

It may make you cringe, but I’m putting on my English teacher hat tonight.  I apologize in advance.  
Every time I read Proverbs 30.21, I resist scribbling “rep” (the abbreviation for “repetitive”) in the margin.  Because, in case you haven’t noticed, there’s a little redundancy going on:
She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.
Is it really necessary to say virtually the same thing two times in a row?  And in the very same sentence?
To my students, I would say, “of course not.”
But this isn’t just any sentence.  It’s composed by the wisdom writer.  Maybe it’s worth looking into.
Here’s an interesting fact:  although some translations use them interchangeably, the Hebrew words for “extends” and “opens” are actually two different verbs.  (Yes, I’m still wearing my teacher hat.)
The first, “paras,” means to spread out, to stretch, to break in pieces, to be scattered.  According to the lexicon at, this word conveys the idea of being broken apart or d…

Easy on the Eyes

Surely I’m not the only one who shares this sentiment:I have a fierce affection for Target stores.I’d like to claim that it’s their healthy produce, or the crisp red and white color scheme, or the convenience to my house.And I do like those features.
But here’s the real draw:  it’s the winning combination of fresh apples and trendy accessories.  This is the one destination where my alleged grocery runs can involve browsing cute cardigans and hip home decor.   The place is just plain easy on the eyes.
But here’s something else [*sigh*]:  my love affair doesn’t do much for my heart’s desire to nurture generosity.  Nope.  If I’m honest, I have to admit that my little jaunts to the big, red bullseye have exactly the opposite effect.  They infect me with the ever-dreaded “want” malady.  If you’re not familiar with this ailment, you should know that its cousin is “envy,” and it commonly masquerade as “need”—especially in the heated moment when that cool pair of earrings is staring me down.