Sunday, April 11, 2010

Are You a "Fill"?

"A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed."  (Proverbs 11:25)

I read this Proverb a couple of weeks ago and it has stuck with me.  The first thing that jumped off the page when I read this was a question I asked myself; "Am I generous?  Am I one who refreshes others?"

There's a rule in place here...it's one of the golden rules - "It is more blessed to give than receive" (Acts 20:35; Paul, quoting Jesus).

What does it mean to "refresh others?"  I'm not sure I know the full scope of this, but to help me answer this question, I simply asked myself another couple of questions; "who in my life refreshes me - what is it about them that refreshes me?"  And "who are those that drain me" and "why do they drain me?"

Those people who refresh me have a few things in common;
1) They're genuinely interested in my life and well-being
2) They experience joy with me when I'm up, and when I'm down, they are there to help
3) They're good listeners: they ask lots of questions about my life and how I'm doing
4) They are optimists - always looking for the good
5) They know that sometimes, words can't help
6) They are thankful people
7) They drive me to God, and they pray for me
8) I make time in my day and week to be around/with them

Those people who drain me?
1) They talk about themselves...a lot
2) They don't seem to have time to hear about my joys and sorrows
3) They don't listen well
4) They're pessimists - and seem to be highly critical of everything or everyone
5) They always have "the right answer"
6) They are "glass half-empty" people
7) They really don't help me grow spiritually
8) I avoid them

When I look at these two lists, I then must ask myself, which list best represents ME?  Now don't get me wrong - I'm sure that all of us at times waffle and display characteristics on both lists.  However, generally speaking, on most days with most people, which list hits closer to me?  Am I a "fill" for others or a "drain?"  To people enjoy hanging out with me, or do they avoid me?

"He who refreshes others..."

Now this may come as a surprise to you since I'm a pastor and all, but I am NOT a highly relational person.  I recently did one of those temperament tests and it confirmed that I'm high on the "Doer" and high on the "Thinker" - combine those two things and you get a somewhat detailed perfectionist who moves quickly from task to task.  I have often been accused of "not caring."  I get easily drained when I'm around a lot of people, and need time by myself to stay fresh.  However, none of that can be used as an excuse to be a drain on others.  There are those around me who need to be encouraged and refreshed...

"He who refreshes others, will himself be refreshed."

Nothing helps someone feel better about themselves then helping someone else.  Let me say that again: if you're feeling down and blue, the quickest and most surefire way to start feeling better is to do something for someone else.  It's a law of the universe that cannot be broken.  When you help others, you find that you are helping yourself.

So what about it?  If you dare, pray this prayer today; "God, I pray you would help me to be someone who refreshes others.  Please put someone in my path today that I can encourage and refresh; and mostly, help me to be someone that leads others to You." - Amen

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