March 03, 2018

Live with Open Hands by Steph Beth Nickel

Do you know someone who lives with open hands? Someone who lives unselfishly? Someone whose life is marked by contentment?

These are good questions to consider anytime ... and good traits to develop. Especially now, during the Lenten season, I think these things are worth our consideration.

When my mother-in-law was ready to sell her house, her daughter took her through it one last time to see if there was anything she wanted before her remaining possessions were divided among the family members, given away, or taken to the trash.

Mom Nickel had previously taken her photo albums, a number of items that hung on her walls, her knitting supplies, and a selection of books. So the last time she walked through the house that had been her home for decades, she was able to say with all honesty, "There's nothing here for me anymore."

She didn't put stock in possessions or the world's idea of success. For her it boiled down to faith and family. She wasn't one to grasp anything beyond those two things. What an example she set!

And, of course, an even better example of one who lived with open hands was the Lord Himself.

Philippians 2:4-8 comes to mind:

"Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross" (ESV).

Talk about living sacrificially!

Recently, I've been evaluating my life. What am I truly willing to lay down should the Lord call me to do so? The pursuit of my dreams? Creature comforts? The idea that I can have it all?  

Much of what I've been grasping needs to be set aside, including the number of online courses I've signed up for and will never be able to complete and the idea that I can accomplish everything on my To Do list and still take on more.

What is God calling you to lay aside? In what ways is He calling you to live sacrificially? How will you leave a legacy of living with open hands?


  1. It's so easy to take on more than we can handle and then feel a false sense of obligation to it. thanks for this great reminder, Steph.

  2. Your story of Mom Nickel drives home a good point, Steph. I also like your image of the open hands rather than grasping, grabbing hands. Your blog also reminded me of Paul's words to the Hebrews in 12:1. NIV

    "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us . . . This makes me think of Olympic speed skaters who have no extra weight and no extra clothing to slow them down."

    Thanks for your thought-provoking post.

  3. Thank you for these questions! I have been walking through a devotional on stewardship which I think speaks to this same idea. As we allow God's resources to flow through our open hands, we are better able to serve Him and be a part of growing His Kingdom.


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