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Chap Chats: Life-Giving Investment

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I love this time of year! As the days grows shorter and the nights more crisp, Friday-night lights are in full effect. On any given Friday evening, you can pass by a local high school and experience crowds of people gathered on the sidelines and in the stands at the football field, cheering on their team. High_School_Football.png

That scene brings back such fond memories, as I reflect on the coaches that poured into my life, on and off the field. In fact, one particular coach’s investment in my life helped to shape me into the man I am today. Have you ever had someone invest so much of themselves into you that it made your life better? I call these people “life-givers.”

Recently, I read an inspiring article about a story of a mentoring relationship between a college professor and one of his students. This life-giving professor was discontent with the status quo of only teaching students in the classroom. Instead, he preferred to use the “classroom of life.” This professor soon realized his purpose: to  invest in his students with his own life. Years later when the professor was on his death bed, students lined up outside his hospital room to continue to meet with and gain additional wisdom from him. Yes, despite being in the midst of dying, this life-giver felt alive when he was investing in the lives of others.

After the professor’s death, one of the students who had been inspired by the professor’s teaching wrote a book about his experience. This book, titled Tuesdays With Morrie, went on to become a New York Times Best Seller and the basis of a movie (Tuesdays With Morrie, 1999). Pictured is author Mitch Albom with Morrie.

The whole objective of a life-giver is to add value to someone else’s life. We see an example of this in 1 Thessalonians 2:8 (NLT), as Apostle Paul wrote to some students in whom he had been investing. Paul wrote, “We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too.”

In that statement, Paul actually alludes to adding value to his students’ lives in three ways:

  1. He loved those people he invested in. Loving others must always be the foundational ingredient if you intend to invest in others; it is the glue that holds everything else together.
  2. Paul added value by extracting lessons from his own life to give them wisdom on how to better live theirs. He simply didn’t want to keep this information to himself.
  3. Paul shared his life. One of the best ways to share your life with someone is to “be present” when you are with them. Instead of looking at people as a means to better your own life, look at them as an opportunity to share your blessings.
As we look at our own lives and how other life-givers have invested in us and, thusly, changed our world, we will also begin to realize similar opportunities to invest in others and make the world a better place.

About the Author
As our Corporate Chaplain, Sheldon Miles serves as, what he calls, “an emotional and spiritual first responder.” His primary responsibilities include encouraging the weary, providing care sessions for the discouraged, and reinforcing Love (v) with our CAREGivers and support staff. 

When asked what Love (v) means to him, Sheldon said, “Love (v) is not about what you get to receive but about what you get to give. It’s about living your life and following the model given to us by the greatest Love (v) teacher who ever lived …” To that point, Sheldon cited John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down his life for his friends.”

In addition to advocating Love (v) to others, Sheldon walks the walk. He outwardly displays our eight Attributes of Love (v) in his daily interactions with our CAREGivers and support staff, who are invited and encouraged to reach out to him to discuss personal and professional matters that may be weighing on their hearts and minds, from marital issues and financial matters to workplace conflicts and even the loss of a client.

Sheldon comes to Home Instead with 25+ years of experience in the pastoral ministry, most recently serving at a local church in De Pere, Wis. He and his wife have two grown children, both of whom live out of state pursuing burgeoning careers. In their free time, Sheldon and his wife enjoy spending time together outdoors and staying active; in fact, Sheldon has competed in 12 marathons … and counting!


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