“An Immeasurable Blessing”

“It is more blessed to give than to receive?”

What planet did he come from? Not earth. Here is it the other way around.

Receive! Tax breaks, coupons, grants, Christmas presents, promotions, praise, priority and power.

Give? Sparingly, strategically, carefully.

He was not from another planet. He had been blinded by the light, and then his eyes were opened. Before he unleashed this seemingly crazy notion about giving, he challenged his friends at Ephesus to examine his own life and example. Doing so, they would see that he had not coveted money or fine clothing and had worked to pay his own way and to help the poor. You should remember, he said, the words of the Lord Jesus: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

What Paul and Jesus were suggesting had everything to do with one’s self: giving of your time, your energy, your heart, your emotion, your spirit, your story while standing beside, walking and working hand in hand with a fellow human being in need.

What returns to you instantaneously is an immeasurable blessing of warmth, love, gratitude hope, encouragement from the other — more empowering and treasured by you than the gift you gave. Rich and poor alike are empowered both to give and receive and, in the very process, to be blessed beyond measure. This truth lies at the heart of Habitat for Humanity’s core principle of calling, engaging and using volunteers in every phase of its work and ministry.

On the last work day of the week during a Global Village trip to Xela, Guatemala, my wife Judy was not feeling well and did not go to the work site. When the wife of the homeowner missed Judy, she came to me, placed her hand over her heart and said, “Tell Judy I hold her in my heart!”

And where else would you want to be but in the heart of those whom you touched — and were touched by — on your journey through life.

— Paul Leonard, longtime Habitat volunteer and former
 Habitat for Humanity International chief executive officer