It Is Good to Be Gracious
IT IS not enough that we work, it is also important how we work. The manner in which we do things often means more than what we do. A child may not do the best of work, but its eager tries win and warm the adult heart.
It is not enough just to speak to people, how we speak counts too. “I’m happy to have you stay with me” means much when it is filled with loving sincerity. The accommodations may not be the best, but you are quick to overlook that for the sake of not offending such gracious giving. On the other hand, if someone says, “You can take it or leave it. It’s up to you,” and mixes these words with the chill from the North Pole, you are apt to look elsewhere, even though the accommodations may be fine.
It is good that we give gifts, but the spirit in which we give, more often than not, means more than the gift itself. To give begrudgingly makes the giving and taking very unpleasant. To do things graciously is to be a credit to yourself and others. It is a way that the giver and receiver both find an inner reward.
To be gracious means to be kindly and courteous in our manner. It means to be sociable, markedly pleasant and at ease in social intercourse. It implies warmth and approachability, kindliness and courtesy, especially to inferiors. It is a beautiful garment to be clothed with, this garment of graciousness.
Christians are encouraged to be gracious to all in all things. When Paul spoke about making contributions for a relief fund, he referred to it as “this gracious work.” He stated that Christian giving should be done graciously, not “grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” We should feel uplifted for having given.—2 Cor. 9:7.
What a changed world this would be if all would be just a little more gracious! Think what a pleasure shopping, bus and subway riding would be! To be waited on courteously and kindly would bring the best out of us. Would not a little graciousness improve employer and employee relationships? One test showed that where employers were gracious and encouraged their employees the energy curve soared sharply. But when they found fault and grumbled about the work, the energy curve plunged downward.
Gracious giving and living cost us nothing, yet they are as essential to life as bread and water. Next time you deal with people, be a little more gracious and you will be the better for it.