We could simply say “give.” “Bestow” is a word with more grandeur; it connotes a very special gift.
Our most unique and total gift is to bestow ourselves.
Jesus bestowed himself to reveal the Father to the people of this world (at least). He did not merely publish content. Most of all, he gave a life.
We can do this too.
Parker Palmer describes circles of trust in which people refrain from trying to save the other person. His book on this topic is Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life—Welcoming the Soul and Weaving Community in a Wounded World. He describes what I call evangelism as assault. It makes the other person’s soul run for cover.
What if you have truth that another person needs. Can you simply give that to the other? What if the person is not receptive—or might not be receptive. In order to promote discovery, what will you do? How can you whet the other person’s appetite for what you want to give? Most of all, it is your life, your beautiful wholeness of righteousness.
Of course there is more to say. In the normal back-and-forth of ordinary socialization you pick up on the facts and meanings and values that are implicit in the other person’s way of being and expressions. You inquire in an open-ended way. You probe. You ask questions that go beyond what Parker Palmer is describing and indirectly communicate a bit of teaching. You may teach the most by saying very little.
If you are loving, interested, sincere in your desire to know the other, a keen, discerning, and appreciative listener, and if you question in a way that facilitates the other person’s sharing, the first benefit is that the other person has a chance to reveal him- or herself in uncommon fullness. The second benefit is that you receive the treasure of that self-revelation—not just of the other person’s ideas and material or social emotions, but a revelation at the level of the soul, the other person’s deeper self, the true self. You can never be the same after truly glimpsing another one of the Father’s creations: a unique, spiritually indwelt personality!
And there is more. Having blessed the other by your way of being and your tasty morsels of teaching, the other person may come to you with questions. And then you can get to know the other person better and give the morsel they are ready to receive for the next stage of their growth. Gradually their mind becomes more attuned with the larger gift you may have in mind. The more you grow, the more adequate will be your cooperation with the spirit in playing this sacred game.
The rhythm is totally different. We do not come on as someone shot from a cannon, with the explosive and aggressive display of one’s bursting desire to “give” what we “know” the other person really needs. Rather, we relax in trust.
Photo Credit. By Unknown – helveticarchives.ch; Swiss National Library, Prints and Drawings Department, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=38111683