“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Winston Churchill
In December of 2009 I had the privilege of visiting Israel on a tour and in the time that I was there I learned so much, and today, as we head in to December and the season of giving, I would like to share one particular lesson from this time with you.
In Israel there are two great and famous lakes, the Sea of Galilee, and the Dead Sea, and both lakes are attached to the River Jordan. The Sea of Galilee is fed from the River Jordon and it in turn feeds life back into the River Jordan. The Sea of Galilee plays a significant role in the nourishment of Israel as it gives life to so many.
The Dead Sea on the other hand, is also fed by the River Jordan but unlike the Sea of Galilee, it keeps the water for itself, sending nothing back. The Dead Sea is also barren and lifeless.
This can also be an incredibly powerful metaphor for our individual approach to generosity.
In times of great pressure and economic difficulty, it is advisable to reduce your spending, yet all too often it is not our spending that is reduced but instead it is our giving that suffers.
I don’t know what kind of a year you have had, perhaps you have been part of the 40 odd percent of businesses that have been booming, perhaps you have been mostly untouched by what has transpired in 2020? Or perhaps like so many, you have experienced great personal and professional pressure this year?
Maybe you have lost loved ones, clients, revenue or (like me) a lot of sleep! Whatever your year may have been, I invite you to resist the urge to live smaller, to hold back on your giving and contributing, because much like the Sea of Galilee – it’s a considerable part of what makes us who we are. A failure to remain open can make your life far less rewarding.
A colleague recently moved overseas and she mentioned how much she misses the simple pleasures like a glass of wine with a friend on a Friday night, walking into familiar places and seeing faces that she knows and recognises – these are things we may take for granted, and we only realise their value once they are gone.
As we head towards the end of the year, I invite you to join me on a journey of staying generous and open. Make the time to draw closer to your family, your friends, and your customers - understanding that is our connection that gives us life and it is our privilege to give life back.
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