Meaningful giving

A Christian Science perspective: As the reflection of God, infinite Love, everyone has something meaningful to give – we’re never left without love to express.

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What makes a giver?

A lot of heartwarming stories out there would suggest that there’s more to giving than simply dispensing funds.

For example, in my community, children celebrating birthdays have asked friends to donate pet supplies to the local animal shelter instead of bringing gifts. And on the global scene, in November Haiti pledged a donation to other islands hit by hurricanes Irma and Maria. As a Monitor editorial pointed out, the contribution is “almost sacrificial” in the context of the resources Haiti – the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country – has (see “In the giving season, a special act of charity,”, Nov. 27, 2017).

In another instance, quite some time ago, a poor widow dropped two coins into her temple’s treasury. The amount paled in comparison to what the wealthy folks around her were contributing, but her offering didn’t go unnoticed or unvalued. It caught the eye of Christ Jesus, who commented, “This poor widow put in more than all of them, for they have all put in what they can easily spare, but she in her poverty has given away her whole living” (Luke 21:3, 4, J.B. Phillips, “The New Testament in Modern English”).

In each of these cases, we might say that the supplies or funds being contributed were a drop in the bucket of the overall need. But that didn’t stop these folks from giving.

Perhaps it’s no surprise that occasions like these tend to tug at our heartstrings. There’s something special about the spirit of such giving – we’re moved by the compassion, love, and selflessness behind it.

In fact, in their truest sense, those underlying intangibles represent the essence of what it really means to give, to care. They are qualities that emanate from God, and because God is limitless, universal, all-powerful Love itself, divinely impelled selflessness is truly a healing light for our neighborhoods and our world.

That’s not to say living these qualities is always a piece of cake. It takes an acceptance of God’s boundless love for His entire creation, the humility to let divine Love guide our thinking and actions, and a willingness to reflect that love outward toward others – even when we might feel we have nothing to give. But as the very spiritual reflection of infinite Love, we’re never left without love to express.

And as Jesus showed on so many occasions, the result of reflecting Love is tangible blessings. His constantly clear understanding of the supremacy of God, Love, was so profound that reformation, healing, and abundance were the inevitable outcomes. What tremendous gifts!

In “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, writes: “The rich in spirit help the poor in one grand brotherhood, all having the same Principle, or Father; and blessed is that man who seeth his brother’s need and supplieth it, seeking his own in another’s good” (p. 518). Making a difference in the world around us isn’t limited to the financially affluent. Everyone can cultivate the richness of spirit that nurtures selfless giving by opening his or her heart to the bountiful largesse of God, infinite good. As we do, we’ll find that we all have something to give, because we’re made to give, to express divine Love. And as we do so, we’ll be moved to give in meaningful, appropriate, and inspired ways.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

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