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One Thing You Can’t Do


Gwen Smith

July 29, 2016

Blog, Christian Living, Devotions, Friendship, Giving, Uncategorized

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Prov 11.25 refreshes

I pretty much consider myself to have a black thumb. Charcoal, even. I like plants and genuinely try to keep them healthy and thriving, but fail at it a lot more than I succeed. So a few years ago when my BFF brought me a baby aloe plant, my heart was torn between girlfriend-gratitude and feelings of sorrow for the innocent little aloe.

A few weeks after she gave me the plant gift, my friend told me a story. She confessed that she struggles to share things and said that she had two aloe plants for a long time. One day she felt a heart-nudge to give one of them to me and she decided that she would give me the small aloe baby. (Bless her heart! She obviously knows nothing of said black thumb!)

For weeks she had meant to act on that heart-nudge and give me the aloe plant, but just never got around to it. She’d think about bringing me the aloe plant when she wasn’t home or remember late at night when it was too late to run it by my house. In the back of her mind she thought that one of her plants would surely have an aloe baby offspring … reasoning that she could just give me that one instead of one of her two plants.

Finally, she remembered.

She brought me the cute little healing plant and gave it to me with a smile. We threw down a happy plant-dance that morning as we shared a cup of coffee and our hearts in conversation.

As we sat at my kitchen table again, coffee mugs in hands, she finished her story by excitedly saying, “The most amazing thing happened this week, Gwen! When I walked past the aloe plant that I’d kept for myself, I noticed that a baby aloe plant had sprung up in the pot! It was almost like a little present from God reminding me that I can’t out-give Him. That when I trust Him and obey His nudges, He blesses me right back.”

I nodded and smiled. That’s what is referred to a boomerang blessing. You throw out a blessing, and then one comes right back around to you.

In the Bible God calls us to be generous, and He promises to bless us when we are. God’s Word has a lot to say about the connection between generous giving and blessings.

“Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice” (Psalm 112:5).

“A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25).

“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life” (1 Timothy 6:17-19, NIV).

God calls His children to generous living, no matter what we have, who we are, or where we live. Even the poorest among us are called to live generously. And let’s not confuse the matter: it’s not about our bank accounts – it’s about our hearts, our time, our talents, and our treasures. We are to be generous, willing to share, and rich in good deeds for the glory of God.

Here’s the PROMISE: blessings follow generosity.

Of course, this will look different to each of us, but we are ALL called to give as we live. I was blessed when my friend gave me that baby aloe plant. She was blessed too. God made sure of it. He always does. We can’t out-give God.


Dear Lord, You are so generous. Thank You for the abundance of Your grace, mercy, love, and truth. Help me to live generously and to give open-handedly just as You do with me. In Jesus’ name, amen.



Where does this promise and prompting find you today? Have you been nudged lately to do something? Do you struggle to share things, both tangible and intangible? Maybe the thing you need to give is forgiveness to someone or to yourself – or encouragement – or kindness. Got a family member, neighbor, or friend in need? What will your response be?

I would love to hear about it. Click over to my blog today to let me know that you “will give as you live,” or to share a boomerang blessing story.


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About Gwen Smith

Gwen Smith

I am an unashamed, imperfect worshiper of Jesus Christ. I cling to His goodness to cover my mess and purpose my days to live out the hope of the Gospel. It is my joy and passion to inspire women to live fully in grace and truth. I write books, devotions and songs. I speak. I sing. I worship. I post, pin and tweet. I am intensely in love with the Word of God and believe, wholeheartedly, that the Bible is divinely inspired truth.


68 responses to “One Thing You Can’t Do”

  1. Sandra Tagaban says:

    I completely agree with this post and have experienced it many times. The first one that came to my mind was when I sent my husband out the door with piping hot ham and bean soup and corn bread fresh from the oven. He was taking it to an elderly couple we know. He was gone less then 5 minutes when a friend came by with ham and bean soup, corn bread AND a sweet potato pie. God is so good.

  2. Rosa says:

    Thank you for your post. So true. We can never out give God. I have lots of blessings in my home and it is very hard for me to let go of anything. I have started trusting in the Lord in the area of giving away my belongings. Sixteen years ago, I started giving away my children’s clothes and only keep what I need. Every time I gave, I said, “Lord, please provide for me when I need clothes.” The more I gave in hoping to clear space, the more the Lord kept giving to me. He multiplied what I was giving away back to me. I used that opportunity to share what God gives me and give it to others. It has been so fun to share with my friends and to hear, “I needed that. Thank you.”

  3. Jeanette Moore-Holt says:

    I always feel blessed when I’m able to be a blessing to someone, whether it’s time or finances.
    My BFF had a struck and brain bleed a couple of months ago, I’ve been watching her family, especially her daughters working around the clock to take care of her needs. So I volunteered to take over and help at least a few hours once a week to give someone a break to be able to take care of their needs. I felt so blessed being able to contribute even some time to help.
    I love to be able to give, not looking for anything in return just the love that The Most High gives me and to continue to be blessed is enough because He keeps on blessing me.

  4. Julie Gabrisch says:

    Gwen. I am so grateful for your devotional. Currently my husband is working for the State Dept in Nairobi and I visit regularly from Denver. Currently I am staying at a hotel in a coastal town in Kenya. Yesterday I went to the bank to get some money. I felt God had asked me to give 1/2 to the hotel in order to do something special for the staff.
    Because of travel restrictions, these coastal towns which depend on tourism are becoming ghost towns and the people are starving. It is important to me to show appreciation for all they do.
    Also, I will be assisting an orphanage that is being somewhat supported by a group back in Denver. I am planning on tutoring the 24 children in English. When I met with the Director (Joyce Kamala), I found out they are being forced to move due to the expansion of the airport and they are running out of funds for food. I gave Joyce the rest of my money and we went and bought food for the children. I know God has me here, now, for a reason, though I know not how I can help, but it is a start.
    I needed to be reminded that it isn’t my money but God’s money.
    Thank you again.

  5. Joyce says:

    As I read your devotional today I smiled. I had been considering mowing the neighbour’s lawn as he is unable to do it. I got the mower and the cord out. My other neighbor asked what I was doing. I said mowing the lawn. Her response was “He has grand kids”. But they do not take time for him. I was so glad I did it as it was a witness to 2 neighbours instead of one.
    God is so good to give opportunities to serve Him and our neighbours.

  6. Tasha says:

    Just today I received my boomerang blessing !! My youngest son started dating a young lady at church this past January & proposed to her 6 months later to the date of their first date. I have been struggling with this because my son has it together, he went to a “lineman” school and has a great job with a very prominent power company. He bought a home & new truck & he is just 21 yrs old!! She is not as driven as he is, or so I thought, but he loves her & he tells me that he feels like God sent her to him. I voiced my opinion about the situation to him and it did not go well !!
    My son ask if she could come over this morning and watch me make bread so she could make it for him & I bit my tongue and offered my help !!! May I just say that I have had the wrong impression of her, she is very much like me!! Bless her heart!! I am so blessed that she loves my son and wants so badly to be a good wife to him…I am just blessed to have spent the WHOLE DAY with her!!

  7. Judi says:

    What a great story to share; thank you. My husband and I were on vacation and stopped for breakfast. As we were checking out there was a young couple ahead of us who had just found out that the restaurant would only take cash and they didn’t have enough to pay their bill. I supplemented the remainder that they did not have and my husband and I went on our way. Later that evening we were at a concert and I got to talking with a stranger who was sitting in front of us with her family. Just before the concert began she sent her daughter out to the concession stand and bought us something to eat. We tried to refuse but she insisted we accept. What a great boomerang blessing from God. It couldn’t have been more obvious that we had helped the young couple pay for their food and we received food back in return that evening.

  8. Lennie says:

    Abundant blessing requires giving it away. The more we give the more we receive. Thanks for the encouragement, Gwen God bless you more.

  9. Vicki Dunbar says:

    Hi Gwen – I just love your devotionals! My boomerang blessing came by the way of a friend lending me her vehicle when mine broke down. This is a friend that struggles daily with health and self-esteem issues. Each time I have seen her, we always talk about her troubles, and I always pray with her. And there have been times where I will just pick up my phone and send her a quick scripture to help encourage her. This past week my car engine gave out on me, and she generously lent me a vehicle for this week. And provided ME with great comfort and joy and repeated one of the many scriptures I have sent to her.

  10. Shere Keegan says:

    I’m recently retired out of medical necessity which put a big kabosh on my finances. Every penny counts. This last Sunday morning, we had The Dysart Family at our church to sing. When our pastor took up a love offering, literally all I had was $3 and a little change…just enough to buy my creamer for my coffee. Silly, I know…but black coffee tears my stomach up and unflavored Coffeemate doesn’t! I considered it and knew that I needed to give all I had in my pocket. That afternoon, after church, a young couple came to buy my dishwasher. We negotiated the price, and I ended up with enough to pay a bill AND get my coffee creamer with $2 to spare!! God is so good…even with the little things!!

  11. Jodi HY says:

    I ask God to nudge me! After my surgery for a partial jaw transplant due to sqamous cancer … I lost weight and changed clothing sizes. (BTW … First two scans since are negative – PTL)
    I found a treasure troth of lesser weight clothes of mine stored in the house I forgot I had and moved them to my closet then thought of selling the “too big” clothes in a consignment shoppe.
    The nudge today was give them to a charitable organization for people in need. Now I have no excuse for totally cleaning out my closet!

  12. Penny says:

    I have a friend who is fighting cancer. I got a nudge to start a GOFUNDME account for her to help her with some of the financial problems she is facing. I put the limit of the account to $2500. The account ended up collecting over $5000.
    I also have a friend who lost her husband in a tragic automobile accident. The couple had just celebrated their babies one year birthday and their one year wedding anniversary. My friend also is having problems returning to her old job.
    Well, the Lord kept nudging me that we have to help the widows and the orphans.
    I told my friend with cancer about my friend who lost her husband and she responded by saying she will donate $500 from her GOFUNDME to the widow.
    Watching all this unfold is experiencing a little heaven here on earth!
    I love the way the Lord uses all of us to get HIS work done! If we just stay still and listen, He will tell us what to do. God Bless You!

    • Gwen Smith says:

      Penny, that’s so amazing! Wow, I love to see these God moments happen.

      • Penny says:

        Just an update…my friend with the GOFUNDME ended up donating $1000 instead of $500. I will be meeting my friend who lost her husband this morning to bless her with the money!
        Thank you Lord!

  13. theresa says:

    Thanks. For. The. Devonal. Gwen, i felt. Gods nuged. Me. A few times. One. Is after. Little. Over. A month. Now. A bff past. Away. Witch. Is a twin. To. Another. Friend. Of mine. There. Sisters. And. After. That. God. Was.nudge. me. To. Stays. In. Touch. With. Her. Then. I have. Been. And. Even. More. So. On Sunday. Afternoon. She. Was. My. Friend. Was. In. Her car. In. The. Parking. Lot. And. Was. Carjacked and. Held in guns. Point. And. Had. A bomerrang blessing. I was trying to. Get. A ride. To. My friends. Celerbration service. Two. Wis. Ago and. God. Promting. Me. To. Post. On Facebook. Of needing. A ride. And. I did. And. A few. Mins. After. That. A friend. Send. Me. A message. That. She. Gave. Me. A ride.

  14. Victoria says:

    Ive been meaning to share the GIG newsletter and daily devotions and this morning I was reminded and I did. I know
    My Mom and Aunt will love the daily devotions as much as I have. Thank you!

  15. Tilly says:

    waiting to hear did the aloe plant survive? I always thought I had a black thumb too, but its working better for the outside flowers this year!


    • Gwen Smith says:

      Oh, Tilly… why did you have to ask this question!? 😉 The aloe plant is now with Jesus… but I do have palms surviving well on my front porch this summer! #babysteps


  16. Debbie says:

    This truly blessed my heart. My Dad has always preached you can’t out give God and God has proven that to me over and over again. He is so good that His goodness should overflow in our lives. Just think if the whole world believed this! Thanks for sharing from your heart.

  17. Monica Dunlap says:

    I love to give to others. I have my little neighborhood spoiled with my cooking. I just can’t cook enough for only 2 so there’s always plenty to share. My neighbors are the ones that try my new recipes. One of the sweetest blessings lately was a couple 3 houses down that are used to being shunned because they are a bi-racial couple but are the sweetest. I have made it a priority to talk & become friends. Last weekend we had a water main leak that turned most of our street into a lake causing me to be unable to get our due to my electric wheelchair. When I saw them a few days later I found that the wife had called many people trying to get the issue fixed because she was afraid my husband wouldn’t be able to get me out if need be. As I have told my husband many times if you show love & care to others, they will usually appreciate it & give love & care for you. We must show Christ’s love to all, especially those that are shunned.

  18. Kim Traynor says:

    I WILL give as I LIVE! Gwen thank YOU so very much for your sharing…It’s such a wonderful and spirit led source of encouragement for me. I do wholeheartedly look forward to reading your posts as well as all the posts from the GIGs!! I have truly had my own personal walk with our Lord enriched by being able to “relate” on MANY levels to what each of you beautiful women share. Thank you Bunches!

  19. Jeanette says:

    Thank you for this word, God has put in my spirit to take this lady some items and I am going through a financial struggle and have felt I don’t have the money to get her what I want to take her so I have not done it. But I am going to call her and see if she is at home and ask if I can come by and talk with her this week. Thanks for the nudge.

  20. Judy Bateman says:

    Thanks for sharing. I love plants and in my earlier years, I had a lot. Now I’m down to just a few in my dining room. The seem to do ok.
    As for the giving of time, a friend asked me to take a funeral and I knew no one there except her but it was ok because I had helped someone. Sometimes the time and talent means more than the treasure,

  21. Susan says:

    What a great article! I have the same thumb?. I had a situation a couple of years ago, where my niece was in need of me to come and pick her up, the living arrangement she was in was not good. I drove an hour and a half to pick her up to bring her back to where I was living. The next day I drove her back to that area another hour and a half to go to school, at which I had no gas money. I waited around all day for her to finish school so that I could drive her to her moms house. I knew driving her there there would be no food because her mom hadn’t been there all week and was expected not to be there for another couple of days. I contemplated with thoughts of fear and judgment why I should not buy her food. I repented of those thoughts because of the conviction I received, thank you Lord for that. I bought her food, still in fear, and dropped her off at her moms house. I drove another hour and a half to get back to where I was staying got up the next day went to work. When I came home from work there was a $500 check in the mail for me from my workers comp case that they shorted me a check. Come on really? Yep!!! That’s how our Lord works!!! Thank you Lord for your gentle nudging and for keeping me obedient and following you!!! Trust sometimes is the hardest thing especially when I have all these emotions and feelings in the way!

  22. Sharon M Noyes says:

    I find that I have practiced this following of God’s nudges, and have for many years. I have to say, most of the time I prefer to do so anonymously. I am uncomfortable doing things that bring attention to myself as a rule, but I want to share a time when I wasn’t anonymous. It was just a week ago….There is a woman who happens to be a third cousin of mine. They have recently taken in two children that were in desperate need of a home and parenting of genuine loving hearts. These children had been abused, neglected, and lost both parents to drug abuse and jail. …….it was an Uncle and his wife that took them into their home to provide the needs so obviously lacking, and not long after the transition the new family experienced a devestating flood that left them all homeless and lost everything they had…..a few years have gone by – with much struggles in that new little family, financial, emotional, physical, oh and did I mention emotional? Just recently this had all come to my attention, with the added knowledge that my cousin and her husband were to retire and move west. That is when God began His nudging. They needed a “lift of spirits and something to encourage their hearts” He whispered to me. I had noticed that my cousin had posted a few things along with pictures of what she was “dreaming of” for their retirement on facebook, and one thing was a red and white quilt. “Now, I can do that!” I thought. So I did. A scripture quilt. I then drove 800 miles to visit my daughter and be able to present the quilt in person and was blessed beyond words by her tears of joy! The first scripture block she noticed brought a burst of tears, ” oh! This is the verse God just gave me today, and that verse right there is my husbands favorite…” Sharing connections of how God had used several of the verses that I had selected in their life. “This is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me!” She exclaimed through a new batch of tears as she fought to get her words out along with her choked sobs. I’m not sure who received the greater blessing that day!
    ( tried to include a picture, but not able)

  23. Alena says:

    I am making a commitment to share more of my time and home…on His terms and not mine.

  24. Cynthia Carpenter says:

    I have a tendence to be selfish also. I am afraid if I give something away I will need it later. I know it is a trust issue and I am working on it. God reminded me of the other day I paid for someones McDonalds order. The next morning I went to my hair stylist and she gave me a new pair of sandals and they were glittery gold. Thank you for the reminder.

    • Gwen Smith says:

      Such a great boomerang blessing story! Love that you are working on trusting more. That’s so important, Cynthia.

  25. Tammy Fowler says:

    I have been prompted on many occasions recently to send money to my nephew who is incarcerated. I keep putting it off and thinking it is no0t my job after reading this I realize that this is an important thing for me to do, not for him but for me. Although I don’t have a lot it is important for me to share what I have when i am prompted by God over and over again. I am hoping to respond to God’s prompts more quickly in the future. Thank you for sharing your experience with me. It has let me see that I am blessed and it is important to share the blessings in whatever way we can.

  26. Melissa McCoy says:

    Too funny. I have a friend that I need to drop two plants off to her. I moved them from their normal spot on the deck close to the gate, now they just need to be moved to my car. Thank you so much for the reminder. It’s on my To Do list for this week. God is so faithful!!

  27. Bonnie says:

    Hello girlfriend Gwen! Reading your devotional reminded me of your song, “Something Beautiful”. I bought your CD after I met you at Word of Life this past April. I love your music and when I listen to the “Uncluttered” songs, I thank God for you and your devotion to Him. When we fix our eyes on Jesus and our thoughts are all about Him, it is so easy to give to Him and to others. His love has no limit and He pours His love into our hearts. Love is the fulfillment of who He is and He fills us with His love when we serve Him with all our hearts! Whatever we do, let us do it all in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus – our Lord and King! To Him we give all the thanks and praise. May we honor Him for His glory!

  28. Debbie says:

    I am going through a divorce and struggling financially. I continue to tithe faithfully, and help those less fortunate the best I can. God has never let me down! Whenever I am strapped for money, need to pay a bill I have no way of paying, He shows up! Sometimes it feels miraculous! God is so Awesome, you just need to trust in Him and his unfailing love.

  29. Janelle Copeland says:

    Happy Birthday, Caren Carter! I’m praying you have a day filled with abundant birthday blessings.I recently had my 57th birthday and am celebrating my one year anniversary of recovery from breast cancer. Since this experience, and at this age, I’m realizing that I have more yesterdays than tomorrows. How I praise God each day for His generous gift of life and salvation: spiritually, emotionally, and physically!

    Gwen Smith, you are God’s mouthpiece to me. Your honest words speak truth, encouragement and challenge into my life. I believe God is wanting me to become more generous and hospitable with having people in my home. While I am not a messy housekeeper, etc., and really want to do this, it TERRIFIES me! So, please pray that I will be able to take this next step for my good and God’s glory.

  30. Caren Carter says:

    Amen. . I thank you for sharing the gospel and may encourage words that is so uplifting. I’m giving God the praise today for allowing me to be 59yrs old today that is a blessing in it self and wonderful people like yourself who came into my life to share an awesome faith (Abba ) I’m forever grateful for all God blessing especially his truth.

  31. Jodie says:

    so on point for my heart! exactly why I am loving our #onejaratatime mission to share joy…the boomerang effect is beautiful! love your heart my friend, and I’m curious, how’s that aloe plant doing?

  32. Myrna Raile says:

    One practice that I find rewarding is to anonymously send money to those in dire straits.
    At the peak of my career, I wanted to give back since I was being so generously paid. When I observed someone going through financial hardship I would mail them some cash to pay a bill or buy food. It made me feels good to share my blessings with others and hopefully lighten their load. Now days mailing cash isn’t really a good idea but there are always ways to help out others financially.
    Giving of ones time is a big one in these times.
    Thank you for taking time to remind us to put God first daily!
    Ps…take care to not over-water the Aloe plant!

    • Gwen Smith says:

      Love this, Myrna! 🙂 PS… the aloe is no longer a member of the Smith family, may she rest in peace… 😉


  33. Lisa says:

    I will give as I live.

  34. Donna says:

    My father passed away last September, and one day, I was sitting on a bench by the river to spend some quiet time with God. There was a hot dog cart in the parking lot, and I overheard two teenagers talking about buying something to eat. They didn’t have enough money to each get a hot dog and a drink. I felt God nudge me to buy them lunch, so I did. Later that day, I was meeting with a man at the company that was going to make a stone for my Dad’s grave. The cost was supposed to be $575.00. I had $600.00 with me and the man said he didn’t have any change. After a moment, he looked at me and said, “I will do it for $500.00. God gave me an immediate blessing for obeying that nudge. It was just another way He reminded me that He was right there with me in this time of deep sorrow.

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