Just give is a good philosophy to live by. You don’t have believe in God, be a Christian to give of yourself. Freely giving is a quality that each of us should aspire to. A quality that needs to be nurtured through the very act, you can read about but until you do it, you won’t make it a lived reality. It is and should be a mark of an honest feeling human being. It should also be a distinctive mark of a Christian. I may just be a crazy liberal but I think we should give as freely and wastefully as we can. Maybe even give until it hurts a little bit.
If giving doesn’t cost us something can it truly be said that we are giving of ourselves?
We can give money, time, energy, and other things. What we give is not as important as the reason and feeling behind the gift. Elaborate and expensive gifts are not needed. Sometimes the gifts that are made by the giver means more than any store bought thing. Giving of ourselves is not only about gifts you can wrap up in pretty paper crowned with a bow. A smile, greeting a stranger, talking with someone, helping another, opening a door, weeding a neighbors garden, picking up trash doesn’t require much, but can mean so much to both the giver and receiver. A simple smile, greeting, and thank you can mean a lot to someone. More than one person has remarked to me how these simple things brighten someone’s day. They bring a little light to our world and I cannot think of a more noble pursuit than being a beacon of light to the dark world that we find ourselves in.
Dalai Lama said, “Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.”
It is not always easy to give of ourselves, but the more we do it the more light and hope we find. The more we receive, the more we give. We give because Jesus first gave of himself. Jesus has shown us what it means to give of oneself to live a life of giving in love. It’s in the very act of giving that we get. You give someone a gift not because you know you will something in return, but for the person’s happiness. We give of ourselves to bring joy and light to the person, to the world not to get repayment for our giving. You give of yourself for the sake of another not for anything we would or could receive. What we receive in giving is giving itself.
If you have not experienced the joy of giving to someone, find someone somewhere to give to. They don’t even have to know that you are giving of yourself to them. Sometimes it may be best to do it anonymously. Just like yesterday, my last customer of the day was a burly guy I disremember what he bought, but the next person in line was a mother with her two boisterous boys with candy. He took the candy gave it to me to ring up as part of his order. He then gave the candy to her and you would think he saved her from certain death or something. She profusely thanked him. That is what giving looks like.
I will leave you with a section of Anne Frank’s essay ‘Give’. You can find the complete essay online.
Everything starts in small ways, so in this case you can begin in small ways too. On streetcars, for example, don’t just offer your seat to rich mothers, think of the poor ones too. Say, “excuse me” when you step on a poor persons toe, just as you would say it to a rich one. It takes so little effort, yet it means so much. Why shouldn’t you show a little kindness to those poor urchins who are already so deprived?
We all know that example is better than precept. So set a good example, and it won’t take long for others to follow. More and more people will become kind and generous, until finally no one will ever again look down at those without money. Oh, if only we were already that far! If only Holland, then Europe, and finally the whole world realized how unfair it was being, if only the time would come when people each other with genuine good will, in the realization that we’re all equal and that worldly things are transitory! How wonderful that no one has to wait, but can start right now to gradually change the world! How wonderful it is that everyone, great and small, can immediately help bring justice by giving of themselves!
Open your eyes, be fair in your own dealings first! Give whatever there is to give! You can always give something, even if it’s a simple act of kindness. If everyone were to give in this way and didn’t scrimp on kindly words, there would be much more love and justice in the world! Give and you shall receive, much more than you ever thought possible.
The world has plenty of room, riches, money and beauty. God has created enough for each and every one of us. Let us begin by dividing it more fairly!