Last week I talked about why I don’t give to charity and I’d like to talk a little more today about giving. I’ve been mulling over the whole giving thing a lot lately. I just finished the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University Classes and the last one is about giving. Plus we just wrapped up Christmas so you can’t really escape giving thoughts at this time of year.
The thing is that I want to want to give. Does that make sense? I wish I wanted to donate money, but I don’t. So the first natural question to ask is “Why should I give money?” The answers are mostly religious:
- Because the Bible says you should.
- Because we are all God’s children and when you help someone else you are doing God’s work.
- Because we are just stewards of God’s assets and we are to use them to do God’s work.
- Because God will bless you if you help others.
Those are totally fine answers if you are religious. But what if you aren’t religious? Those answers don’t speak to me. So I have to come up with my own answers I guess.
I was thinking about it earlier and I came up with the following:
It has two parts. The first part is that we all need help in our lives. We all need the assistance of others to make it down our path, whatever path that might be. We need people to open doors or help us over rough spots. We simply don’t have all the tools we need to do everything we want to do. Like it or not, we all need help. The more help we can get the faster we will reach our destination.
The second part is that giving and receiving are two sides of the same coin. You cannot separate them. If you give, someone receives. One action causes both experiences. Right? You can’t argue with that. So if you have the spirit of giving in your heart then you have the spirit of receiving in your heart too. You can’t separate the two. If you see the world through a giving filter then you will have more giving in your life. If you have more giving in your life then you will have more receiving in your life, because you can’t have one without the other.
In my experience, the best receivers have always been those who are the best givers. Think about the holidays. Doesn’t it feel awkward when someone gives you a gift but you didn’t get them anything? It’s because you have to give in order to feel comfortable receiving.
I had a friend once who was very active in her church and while I don’t know for sure I assume that she tithed regularly. Her particular church is very big on tithing and I can’t imagine she didn’t give. After I had known her for about a year her husband got laid off. They went through a very rough time financially as she was a stay at home mom and they had 4 kids. School was getting ready to start and I wanted to help her get her kids ready for the new school year. So I gave her a big bag of hand-me-downs from my kids and $100.
I had a lecture prepared in case she called and said she didn’t want the money. But she didn’t. She just called and said “Thanks!”. Which I was very happy about. She was a good receiver. Why? Because she is also a good giver.
Obviously you can’t give with the intentions of receiving back. You can’t give in one moment and then the next moment be looking for what you will receive. That’s not giving. That’s buying.
Most people aren’t just takers. Even those that aren’t good givers don’t expect to just take take take. For them (us) it’s more of a closed system. A self-contained, self-sustained system. To be a good giver you have to believe that there will be gifts for you if you need them. That takes trust. Maybe that’s what giving is really about, trust. I can say I do have trust issues. My post about charities was based on distrust. Maybe giving will help open up some trust for me.
Am I pulling out the check book? Not yet, but I’m working on it.