Living Open-Handed

Let’s try a quick experiment. Tightly clench your fist. Now, look at your hand. What can you give away while your fist is clenched tightly? What can you receive? What can you hold in your hand? Obviously…nothing. I used this illustration in a workshop recently to describe the difference between living with a spirit of abundance versus scarcity. A doctor in the audience said, “Being turned in on ourselves is our natural state. Even when we die our hands stay closed.” It seems that our tendency to have a closed fist is something we need to guard against, and it stays with us even in the grave.

There’s a lot going on in society right now that would tell that we should “close in.” The economy, health issues, political divisions, and more can lead us to believe that the world is a dangerous place and that we need to protect ourselves.

I’d encourage you to fight this tendency to turn inward, to “close your fist”, and do the opposite. To live “open handed”, to be vulnerable, to live generously. To give even when it might be difficult, to offer your help when it is needed, precisely because it’s a difficult time. My friend Dennis says he thinks generosity is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets. Then, the stronger it gets, the more fun and useful it becomes.

Is this the season for giving? I say yes! I say to open your hand as a sign of faith, a sign of love, a sign of empathy. Live with a perspective of abundance and generosity.

Sixty years ago I frequently visited my Grandpa Becker. By all accounts he was poor. And by all accounts he lived with an open hand that demonstrated his faith, love and caring for others. He started each meal with this prayer from Psalm 145. (Of course, he prayed in King James Version ) “The eyes of all wait upon thee, O Lord; and thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.”

So this season of giving let’s live life with a spirit of abundance, and with an open hand. I promise that you will be blessed, as you bless others.

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1 Comment

  • comment-avatar
    Rick December 15, 2022 (8:34 pm)

    Thanks Brian. Love the closed fist illustration. Living generously is a joy and privilege.