When was the last time you did something for someone else? Not your family or friends, but for someone whose name you didn’t even know, someone who may not ever have the opportunity to say “thank you?”
We live in a society that is overwhelmingly self-centered, where we tend to look out for ourselves and those who are close to us having little regard for the needs of those who aren’t in our immediate circle. We make it a priority to give our children the finest clothing and toys but think little of our child’s classmate who may not even have clean underwear and socks because that’s not “our problem.” We will blow $30 or $40 dollars lunching(and brunching) and shopping with our girlfriends but walk past a homeless person on the way to our car without giving it a second thought because that’s not “our problem.” Ask yourself this: if it’s not our problem then whose is it?
Muhammad Ali once said “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” Giving is surely an act of service; the service of improving another person’s life. However, we often do not reach out to help and show generosity towards others because we do not see them as equal to ourselves and our loved ones, instead they are “less” than we are in our eyes. Other times we are only interested in giving when it presents a return for us. For example, we are fine giving to charity when we know we will receive a tax write-off, but we are not always eager just to give out of our abundance with nothing to expect in return.
That’s what happens when you give out of abundance rather than withholding due to a fear of becoming deficient!
My mother is a bit of a Craigslist enthusiast. It seems that every time I go home, she has some new treasure that she found on the site; beautiful furniture and nearly new flat screen TV’s that she always gets at a steal of a bargain. She acquires so many new things there’s barely any room left! For a long time, I would tell my mom to sell her “overstock” instead of letting it clutter up the garage. She’d always say in return, “I’d rather give it away.” I could never understand this because, I mean, my mom has some really nice things in her home, why just give it away when you can make a few bucks? But one day she told me that it was more important to her to give her things to someone who really needed them than to make a profit, after all, God has blessed our little family with so much in all areas, and it blesses her to bless others. Wow! That’s just one reason why I love and admire my mom so much. The bigger lesson here is that we don’t always have to be in it for ourselves. When we are generous and look out for others we are never left without, God will take care of us as well. That’s what happens when you give out of abundance rather than withholding due to a fear of becoming deficient!
As this week closes, I encourage you to find ways to be generous in your life. Many of us drop a few bucks in the offering plate on Sunday, but take some time to seek out other ways to give. If you have the money, consider picking up a bag of food from the grocery store and delivering it to an area of high need. Take a card of encouragement to your local nursing home and ask them to give it to someone who rarely has family or visitors. Remember that giving doesn’t always have to mean spending money. You can give in time, knowledge and experience. Volunteer for a cause you feel passionate about, mentor a young person, or offer a free workshop to those who desire to learn what you do well. The possibilities are only as limited as you allow them to be. Whatever you chose to do, embrace the gift of giving!