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,” CSMonitor.com, 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.