Sometimes I find myself having to attend meetings I don't want to attend with people I don't know. Sometimes I have to enter into hostile classroom settings with students who scowl about grades or class assignments. Sometimes I find myself at odds with a neighbor.
As I prepare for a meeting today, I turn to Proverbs 18. Here, the wise man says, "A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great." Some translations say a gift enlarges the way of the giver. Others claim the gift opens closed doors and connects you to people.
I know what I need to do.
I buy chocolate. Really good chocolate. I enter the room with an armload of it. "I brought chocolate!" I exclaim. The gift never fails in classrooms, meetings, and even between friends with hurt feelings. You stand on the doorstep, ring the doorbell, and just hand over the chocolate.
I remember the story of a little girl who had her first fight with her best friend. Days pass. Finally, one of them sulks over, still mad, knocks on the door and says, "My mom wants to know if you want some chocolate."
The other girl, angry and frowning says, "Of course I do." She then smiles and says, "Come in and let's play."
When all else fails and you don't know what to do, bring chocolate.
Have you experienced the power of giving a gift to enlarge your way?