Apr 01, 2020 08:00am
It’s Better to Just Give up Your Pancakes – A Lesson in Generosity

There is within us a deep joy in giving. It’s beneath the layers of callouses and fears that plague our heart. But it’s there. A sleeping blessing that awakes only when we sacrificially give. Even if what we give . . . are pancakes. 

This morning, my wife made some blueberry pancakes – a lot of them. Enough for the whole family. Or . . . so she thought. As our three (growing) boys shuffled more and more flapjacks into their pie-holes, we quickly realized something had to give. Since we didn’t have the ingredients to make more (rookie mistake on our part!), either we’d have to supplement their pancake breakfast with something lesser or Daddy wouldn’t get his share of the treasure trove.

A tough decision, for sure. In one sense, sitting down with my own plate would teach them that everybody gets a helping – that it’s not all about them. An important lesson for every child, no doubt. But, I opted to go the other route – I divided my plate into thirds, and distributed it evenly. 

Now, before you go thinking I’m looking for a pat on the back, like, I gave some kids some pancakes. Whoopee. Don’t think that’s trophy worth. 

Want to give me a hand?

There’s a scene in the movie Cinderella Man where Jim Braddock’s (the protagonist played by Russell Crowe) family doesn’t have enough food to go around. Locked in the Great Depression, things are tight. Braddock’s wife puts a plate in front of him, but you can tell his little daughter is still hungry. What he does next is beautiful. He begins a story:

“I dreamed last night that I was having dinner at The Ritz…And I dreamed I had a steak. A thick, juicy steak…And then I had a mountain of mashed potatoes…and I went back for ice cream three times. I’m stuffed. I’m absolutely full. I cannot eat another thing. Want to give me a hand?” 

Hungrily, the girl takes her daddy’s helping, thinking now she’s doing him a service! Braddock’s wife gently protests, but he silences her with a kiss. Then he smiles and leaves, his stomach quietly groaning in complaint. How powerful!

That slumbering joy called generosity

There is within us a deep joy in giving. And, really, that’s what this little post is all about. It’s an application of those words Jesus taught long ago: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). 

As a follower of Jesus, that’s what flashed through my mind when the pancake stash started depleting: It really is better to give than to receive. My boys had no idea the minor sacrifice I made this morning. They also don’t know compounding joy I experienced watching their eyes open wide as seconds hit the table.

Jesus helped arouse that slumbering joy in my heart this morning. And for that I’m grateful. It really is better to give than to receive.

Let’s try to believe that today. 

Copyright © 2020 by Justin Talbert @ Used with permission. No part of this article may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from