I’m beginning to wonder if there is some unspoken truth about giving that nobody tells us about. Our parents sternly warned us to be kind and share with our brothers and sisters, but never really delve into the details about why. And as we get older, if we don’t share with our friends and family they reprehensibly look down upon us as if we’ve sinned in some revolting way. But why should we give? Are there benefits for giving? And should this be one of those things on our to-do-lists?
When I was a child my mother always had to remind me to share with my brother. It was never the thing at the forefront of my mind. And why should it? If I got a bag of delicious candies, why would I want to give it away? It’s mine, right? As I got older, a teenager, one of my aunts would constantly remind me about how selfish I was; so much that I almost started to equate that word with my name, “Shauna, the selfish”. In my mind though, I didn’t think I was selfish. I just had a firm belief about possession. When something is mine, it belongs to me only and I shouldn’t have to give it away; and when it isn’t, I’ve also learnt how not to be jealous or envious. It’s the way I saw it and sometimes I still see it that way. But I do now however, practise giving more often. Because I see that there are benefits. Well, there has to be a good reason to give something away, right?
I pick occasions to give. I consciously do it, because giving doesn’t seem to come naturally; not to me. In other words, I have to ask myself whether this is a chance to be generous, and when my mind feels greedy by thinking only about me, I remind myself that this person may very well benefit because of me.
It’s actually motivating to give when you think of the reward. Not the ‘other’ reward that you’re going to benefit, which you are; rather it is the feeling of doing something kind. It feels fulfilling and uplifting when someone is happy because you gave of yourself. It is as the bible says,
‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.”Acts 20:35
What is interesting though about being generous is that often, the same hand that you’ve helped isn’t always the hand that repays the favour. It is here I’m reminded of a movie, “Pay-it-Forward” because it highlights the principle of giving. When you help another person by giving of yourself, your time, and your energy there is a greater reward stored up for you and it comes in the least expected of ways, like the homeless man that tried to save a woman from jumping off a bridge. The homeless man was helping this woman because someone had helped him and he was looking at the world differently, from eyes of compassion. The bible says it this way,
Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”Luke 6:38
So is giving important to me now? It most certainly is! There are countless benefits for giving and that’s why we should always remember to do so. We give not because we expect to get something in return, but because good naturally flows out of giving. It’s one of those common beliefs that is so important that it had to be written in the bible. When I listen to other people’s stories, you get the picture that because they were kind, God opened a miraculous door in a way that they needed it most. And you have to ask, was it because they gave?