Do you consider yourself a giver? When I say the word giver, it brings many pictures to my mind. Gift-giving for Christmas and birthdays and anniversaries and graduations; giving of your money and resources to help others; giving of your time and wisdom. The word giving encompasses really anything and everything that involves the passing of something to another. There was even a movie out in the last year called The Giver. I enjoyed the movie and thought it one worth seeing, but it had the connotation of the future that a lot of movies today have -- a sad perspective of our society in futuristic times -- everything lost, in ruins, and humanity facing hopelessness. But in The Giver, the "giver" was the one person who had the gift of seeing everything as it really was and, along with that, the wisdom to lead the people. News flash...we all have been given someone like that and his name is Jehovah God. I, for one, would like to just leave seeing the future to God anyway. I don't care to have that job.
But at some point in everyone's life, we are faced with the opportunity to give. Will you give of your resources, money, time, and efforts to help another's cause, dream, hope or daily existence? I recently read a short story about a man who made his wife swear to bury him with all his money. I know this was just a story and I'm almost sure it wasn't even true, but the fact of the matter is that you cannot take it all with you. Whatever you have left behind will go to the next of kin or to the state to figure out who will get it if you don't have a will. I know of another man personally who passed away and, not having a will, the state has seized the estate and is distributing it among his heirs, some of whom have never even met the man. It turns out this man was fairly wealthy but in the end he had absolutely no say-so as to who would get his money. But one thing is for certain; he did not take it with him. Then we've heard of the person who has money and decides not to will it to another upon their demise but to give it all away while they are still alive and able to decide how they want their money spent. Most of the average folks in America today don't have enough money to give lavishly financially; they are doing well to make ends meet and put food on the table. But giving of one's self is so much more than money and I have found that the kind of giving that doesn't require money but requires one's time, hard work, and presence might just be the purest form of gifting. A monetary gift of several hundred thousand dollars when you're a millionaire is nothing to shake a stick at but, when you set aside a day to help someone who truly needs you, that kind of giving cannot be tagged with a monetary price because we all, the rich and not-so-rich as well, have the same number of hours in a day and the same number of days in a week. And this is the kind of giving that every single one of us can do.
But what I find many times when people give, and something that I will openly admit I have unknowingly done myself before, is that sometimes we give with strings attached. We say to the recipient of our gift (maybe not to their face, but in our own minds) "I will do this for you, but you better not forget it and, in fact, you better do the same for me in the future." We remind them when they don't give back to us that we are owed something because we helped them. And might I suggest that this kind of giving is really not giving at all? That kind of gift is what we call a loan, and it is not fair to the receiver if he doesn't know it's a loan. It becomes giving with the attachment of a payback in the future, and this attitude I believe negates whatever was gifted in the first place. Giving with no strings attached, on the other hand, frees you to continue giving because you no longer have to keep track of what you give in the effort to make sure you receive what you think you are owed in return. Giving freely and clearly is the best and maybe only way that true giving really works. Because it is highly likely that, even though you forget what you did, that person never will forget it. And for that reason, it has a higher return in that it makes them a better person because they were helped freely and clearly and will hopefully pay the action forward. Plus, if you are never paid back and are not worried about being paid back, then it will not be a matter that eats away at you. When we give to others with strings attached, those very strings we use to hold others will instead keep us in bondage. Gifts with strings become burdens that weigh you down, tie you in knots, and eventually incarcerate the giver in the jail of anger, resentment, and bitterness. I have reminded people of things they have done for me in the past and, with a bewildered look on their face, they admit they don't even remember doing it. That is true giving.
"Give, and it shall be be given unto you." Not with gift-to-gift equality but what you receive is a joy and satisfaction in return that deepens your life perspective and teaches you that giving in its truest form positively has no strings attached.
Just some thought for your Monday.
Posted by CC
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