For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have. (2 Cor. 8:12)

I’VE DISCOVERED A TRUTH IN LIFE: When in crisis, people give according to what they have and how they’d like to receive. It’s a given. Some people love food, so they bake cakes. Others send cards or e-mails. Still others want to see you face-to-face. Some want to tell their stories, while others use small talk to distract you from the pain. The truth is, none of these approaches are right; none are wrong. They are what they are.

There was a time when I judged these offerings, believing them to be shallow and insincere. Age and experience have taught me a different perspective. It’s not as much the gift as the attitude of the heart of the giver (and the receiver). In most cases, the heart is there. Surely a desire to stand with one in pain makes the gift more than acceptable to the Lord and receiver.

So if you have a friend in need and have no idea what to do, first ask the Lord and then move forward. Who knows? It might be exactly what he or she needs at the exact time needed. You may not know if it’s right. Your friend may not know either. But the Lord knows. By listening to Him, you are able to give from your abundance, standing with others in their time of need.

Tell the Lord you are willing to be used to give from your abundance to someone in need.

Marty Norman is a wife, mother, and grandmother. She is an avid reader, loves to hike, and is passionate about mission work.