But Is Much Much More
There are two types of healthy friendships: Equal and unequal. Equal we understand and easily accept. Friendship is synonymous with give-and-take. The equal kind where your giving balances out your taking.
Unequal we don’t get so much. When one person does most of the giving and the other does most of the taking, isn’t that unacceptable?
That’s how we usually see it but is that always true? Can a friendship be good when equality is distorted? I think it can. In fact, the greatest friendships are unequal. Let me explain.
Equal friends are peers. Their lives run in parallel. They aren’t exactly the same but they have equal levels of development. Generally:
- They share similar levels of health, education and opportunities for employment. Neither is handicapped or maybe both are handicapped but they are equal.
- They speak the same language and maintain the same standard of living.
- They share common opportunities for recreation, lifestyle habits and so on.
- They may not make the same choices but they share common options.
- They may not have the same job position but they work in the same strata of society.
It isn’t uncommon for people on an equal footing to meet and become connected at the friendship level. It isn’t forced. Neither is uncomfortable with the other. There is no condescension either way.
They are able to give as much as they receive.
But there is a second angle on friendship that tells a different story.
This kind of friendship is marked by either division or disparity, or sometimes both. If it’s division, the friends represent differing sides. If it’s disparity, the friends are on different social levels, more vertical than horizontal. One looking down, the other looking up.
Unequal friendships require a great effort, at least on the part of one, for the connection to be made. One side is sacrificing, the other benefits.
This doesn’t seem fair and according to Jesus it isn’t, but it is not what you think. The giver, He said, is much more blessed than the receiver.
When beliefs are involved compromise is assumed but, again, not so. Giving a person what they need on a personal level doesn’t require alignment of beliefs. You’ll see just now. Read more
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It’s been a long wait but Tithing For Today: Why Tithing Is Good For Everyone In Every Era is finally live on Amazon, in Kindle format, and at $0.99 is priced to sell.
You’ll be glad to know the book doesn’t take a demanding tone but instead is sufficiently exegetical, pointedly philosophical and, though not a how-to book on managing finances, encourages the use of copious amounts of practical wisdom in the discipline of handling money. The book also takes a decidedly more patient tack toward those learning to incorporate this practice in their regular budget.
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Because “Tithing” enjoys a long history in Scripture – Genesis to Hebrews – it deserves serious consideration by every thoughtful individual and Tithing For Today provides the rationale to answer such questions as:
- Did Jesus (and Paul) eliminate tithing or reinforce it philosophically?
- Did Jesus eliminate the “Law” or just the curse?
- Does corruption countermand tithing?
- Should our giving be by budget or whim?
- If we tithe on net income which “net” are we talking about?
And more. The author’s hope is the book will give you plenty to think about.
Christmas Is Associated With
Giving, Receiving And Waiting
For some, Christmas never seems to get here soon enough and the closer it gets the worse the waiting becomes.
The tree goes up several weeks before and the presents start collecting at the base. All the bright wrapping says “guess what I am?” or “ha ha, you have to wait!” and there’s not much you can do to solve the mystery other than cheat, which no one would do at Christmas time, right?
And that’s not all.
There are also surprise gifts, the ones that can’t be easily wrapped – bicycles, trampolines, large stuffed animals, a car in the driveway, etc. Each person knows what they want – and everyone else knows too – but there is no evidence at all, not even a comment slip, to give it away.
So, we wait.
But really, when you think about it, we have it nice. We only have to wait one year for Christmas and even though the anticipation grows the closer it gets, the smell of Christmas keeps us upbeat, so the waiting is tolerable. In some cases it’s fun.
The First Christmas Was Long In Coming
But what about the first Christmas? The one the Old Testament folks knew was coming, even had clues was near, but didn’t know it was there until after the fact. Read more
Ritual Means Little
If The Heart Hasn’t Changed
As I mentioned in a previous post, the phrase “Christmas Story” encompasses far more than just a nativity scene. There are other related events and people that add a lot of color and meaning but receive nothing more than a passing glance. Leaving them out means we get only a partial picture.
Zacharias Is A Good Example
One person connected to the birth story that gets very little attention is Zacharias. His story is found in the first chapter of Luke and takes place six months before the conception of Jesus.
Let me share his experience.
Serving But Possibly Cynical
The story opens with a few background details about Zacharias and his wife, Elizabeth.
He is a priest and they are described as righteous and blameless (upstanding) but childless. They are also well beyond their child bearing years. Not a happy state since children were believed to be a sign of God’s blessing. Culturally it was considered shameful not to have kids.
At the time of the story Zacharias is in the Temple burning incense and something very unusual happens. An angel appears and tells him very matter-of-factly that his prayers have been heard. He and Elizabeth will have a son whose name will be John.
There couldn’t have been a more appropriate time for the angel to appear. Incense was symbolic of prayer and this is obviously something for which Zacharias and Elizabeth had prayed. His response, however, was anything but believing. Instead of humbly accepting this good news and being thankful he was skeptical. His response: Read more
It’s A Concept
I completed my first Tour Durban this year (2013) and it was a great pleasure for several reasons:
One, it was my fastest race ever at 3h 54m. Since I have never finished a race in under five hours that represented monumental improvement.
I knew at the finish I had done well but was stoked to discover it was sub 4 hours!
What makes this race unique is the roads are mostly wide and fairly smooth so you don’t feel cramped or shaken like a can of paint. And with just over 1100 meters of vertical ascent – most of it occurring in the first 30 kilometers – it is a great test of cycling skill.
Three, it was another great opportunity to feature the new riding jerseys for the South African Children’s Resiliency Project (SACRP) and these jerseys can’t be missed. They stand up and shout.
The colors are bright (reddish-orange and yellow) and the design is simple. There is nothing busy about it. One glance and you know exactly what you’re looking at. Your brain is tattooed with SACRP for life.
It was designed to draw people in and make them curious enough to ask what it’s about.
And it’s working. I was approached by a cameraman collecting footage for SuperSport and he asked me to explain what I was riding for.
Could I say a few words for the camera?
Mistake! I don’t have any problems with verbal responses – other than saying too much – and I’ve had a lot of time to think about the SACRP and therefore have a lot of formulated thought to spew.
The cameraman did two takes and he seemed to be pleased.
Hopefully, the footage will make it into the program but even if it doesn’t, the idea is working.
The SACRP is getting noticed and I am privileged to ride for the cause.
This won’t be the last time the jersey is worn in a race and we are looking for others to wear the colors also. If you would like to join the cause please let me know.
New jerseys are being organized as I write. The next race to feature the jerseys is the Amashova.
Stay fit and ride for a cause.
Many Thanks to Rika at Cycle Nation
Big thanks goes out to Rika at Cycle Nation. She was kind enough to take my picture at the start line and email me a copy following the race. You can see all of her Tour Durban pics in the Cycle Nation gallery and you’ll find many more pics of other races there also.