Friday, October 08, 2010

The Lesson of Giving

One thing I've learned in my life, is that it is more blessed to give than to receive.

Michael and I are often approached, sitting in traffic, at fast-food restaurants, even in the Walmart parking lot. Folks, seemingly down-on-their-luck, asking for money. It's difficult to believe them, sometimes. Are they just panhandlers, drunks, too lazy to go out and get a job? What? What makes a person lose all sense of dignity and expect a hand-out? In a split second, I have to decide--do I believe them, and am I going to give them money I don't really have to give?

You want to know my answer?

You bet I am. It may be just a quarter. Or whatever is floating around in my cup holder. I've seen Michael open his wallet and hand over a few dollars. Neither of us expect to be applauded for this, or even blessed for it. It's the humane thing to do, and also ... it's not up to me to judge this person. He or she may very well take my few dollars and head to the nearest liquor store, or crack house. I have no idea what happens to it after it passes from my hand to theirs. Then again, it may just buy a carton of eggs or a half-gallon of milk for his kids. Who am I to make that determination?

Someone once told me, if you give someone a gift, don't expect a thing in return. Otherwise, it's not a gift. Although, in many cases, the borrower becomes slave to the lender. The overwhelming feeling of obligation is not a good feeling. And yet, in this economy, I see the potential of the haves either helping the have-nots, or hording it.

Should we just hand over our hard-earned money? No. That's not what I'm saying. But when the opportunity arises for you to help in time of need, are you there? Don't give away every dime, you've got a responsibility to your own family. But can you bake a cake for an elderly lady next door? Can you give a bag of food to a needy family down the street? How about going through your closet and giving away those clothes and shoes you never wear?

"I've worked hard for my money. I'll be damned if I'm giving it away to some lazy, low-life who won't get a job!"

That statement breaks my heart more than the sight of any beggar on the street.

I've learned how to be generous, because I've been on the receiving end. Big time. That is the biggest lesson I've learned in my lifetime. And I'm grateful for it.

Many, many wonderful blessings to you and yours.

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