“It is more blessed to give than to receive” Acts 20:35b
I went to a craft fair awhile back to visit my crafter friend’s booth. I entered my name for a door prize drawing and while I was there my name happened to be called. Each winner drew a booth number out of a basket and go to that booth to claim their prize. At booth number three was three ladies and two tables with woven rugs displayed on them. My prize was a beautiful woven rug woven by the eldest lady at the booth. Her skill was impressive and the rug that I won was even the perfect colors to match my home décor. I thanked the nice ladies, claimed my prize, and went back to the booth where my friend was selling her wares.
The ladies saw my friend and me admiring my rug. You could tell that they were pleased by how much I appreciated the elderly lady’s hard work. So, I explained to them why I was so thrilled to receive that woven rug.
My grandma passed away when I was twenty-five, right before our second oldest daughter was born on my eldest son’s birthday. Their birthdays often remind me of her. She was a lady who was multi-talented. She learned to do many things out of shear necessity because she was very poor. Her life was hard, raising children and later adopting three of her grandchildren with very little means to support them.
She could cook just about anything, including wild game. She could bake a great homemade pie, garden and can what she grew, sew, and of all things: weave rugs. While the lady at the craft fair made her rugs for pure enjoyment, my grandma had to make her rugs because that was the only way that she could have one.
Even though she didn’t have much, she was always willing to share what she did have. She always baked my favorite cherry pie for the holidays. She made them from cherries that she picked from her own tree. She would make homemade gifts for those that she cared about. Her gifts were simple, made from thigs that she had around the house: Styrofoam, fabric pieces, tin cans, milk jugs, etc. You might say that my grandma had “gone green” long before it became a trend to recycle everything.
One day she presented me with a gift that she had made. It was a woven rug. She had made it out of a kind of fabric and of all things, plastic bags. I was a young wife and homemaker at that time, and I remember thinking what an odd gift a rug made with plastic bags was. I thanked her and used the rug, but it wasn’t until many years later that I truly appreciated it.
I shared with ladies at the craft fair that I had not had a woven rug since the one that my grandmother had made me when I was young woman. I hugged the lady who made it and thanked her for the gift of her time. I think that she thought that I was a little overly excited about the rug, but she graciously hugged me back and told me that she was glad that I liked it.
I have been given many gifts in my lifetime, all of which I am grateful. But it wasn’t until I arrived at middle age, that I really understood how precious the gift of someone’s time is. For my grandma, that was all she had to give. I didn’t realize until after her time was gone, how generous that gift truly was. I regret that I wasn’t willing to give her more of my time while she was still here.
We take time for granted: our own time and the time of other people. It is evident when we expect others to drop everything to meet our needs or our expectations. It is evident when we assume that every conversation should be all about me and mine. It is evident when we are eager to receive help but are never willing to give it.
Think about it this the next time that you put your dishes in the sink with no thought as to who is going to wash them. Or the next time that you call up a friend to vent without asking if it is good time for her talk. Or the next time that someone needs to call in a favor and you are tempted to tell them that you are too busy.
Time is precious. It can never be replaced. Once it is given or taken, it is gone. Treasure your time and the time of others. Be thankful. Be grateful. Be humbled by those who choose to invest their time in blessing you.