In Eugene Peterson’s wonderful book, “Running with the Horses,” he describes a time in his life where he watched a mother bird teaching her three chicks how to fly.
The mother swallow got alongside the chicks and started shoving them out toward the end of the branch – pushing, pushing, pushing. The end one fell off. Somewhere between the branch and the water below, the wings started working and the fledgling was off on his own.
Then the second one.
The third one, however, was not to be bullied. At the last possible moment his grip on the branch loosened just enough so that he swung downward, then tightened again, bulldog tenacious.
The parent pecked at the desperately clinging talons until it was more painful for the chick to hang on than risk the insecurities of flying. The grip was released and the wings began pumping. The mature swallow knew what the chick did not – that it would fly –that there was no danger in making it do what it was designed to do.
Birds have feet and can walk. They can walk; they can cling. But flying is their characteristic action and not until they fly are they living at their best, gracefully and beautifully.
Giving is what we do best. It is the air into which we were born. It is the action that was designed into us before our birth.
Some people try desperately to hold on to themselves, to live for self. They look so bedraggled and pathetic doing it, hanging on to the dead branch of selfishness and self-centeredness, afraid to risk themselves on the untried wings of giving. Yet many people don’t think they can live generously because they have never tried it.
What is Peterson talking about when he says, “Giving is what we do best…”? I believe this is the answer. We were all born with an inborn spirit of ever-increasing generosity, as much as those baby birds were born with an innate sense of flight. You were born to be generous with your time, your talents and your treasure. Even though fear can hold us back, we were made to live out of the delight of generosity.
Have you ever felt that truth pecking at your heart? You want to let go and give but the fear of not having enough for yourself holds you back.
When we discover how to live generously, we are free to soar into the life of joy and rich blessing. The Bible tells us, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” But how do we let go of our comfortable perch? How do we flex our wings and fly into loving and faithful generosity?
Start small and be faithful. Determine to give what you have decided in your heart to give. Don’t give grudgingly or out of obligation but give with an understanding that this is the very thing you were made for by your Heavenly Father.
Give for the greater glory of God and the well-being of people. Learn to live to give and as you do, you become fully what you were made to be.