“Each of you should give what you have decided in your hearts to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” — 2 Corinthians 9:7 (NIV)
If you are lucky, sometime during your life you will have an experience as profoundly moving as Jim Marsh Jr. had when he visited his friend Kim Montroll in Haiti some years ago. An elderly couple they encountered on a walk fed them their own dinner. Jim and Kim ate with tears streaming down their faces as their hosts proudly watched.1
Whether we have a little or a lot, discovering the joy of sharing what we do have opens our hearts and our minds to new insights, a new way of living and incomparable joy. Never in most of our lifetimes has there been a time when so many were so needy because of lost jobs, nor a better time to discover the more fulfilling life that helping our neighbors offers.
It is all too easy to say, “I’ll give tomorrow, or next month,” or some nebulous time that never comes. Hunger can’t wait, and it is only one problem facing the jobless today. They are hungry today and they may be homeless tomorrow. Today is the day to make a plan for sharing with neighbors you know and neighbors you don’t know and to get started doing it.
While there are many ways to assess your level of giving and then increase it, the easiest may be to determine what percentage of your income you are now giving away and then set a realistic goal for gradually upping that percentage over time. A second step is to determine the difference between your genuine needs and “wants.” Asking yourself if your “wants” will make a difference in your life six months or six years from now, can help you see them for what they really are.
Eknath Easwaran, a spiritual leader influenced by Mahatma Gandhi, said: “Lasting change happens when people see for themselves that a different way of life is more fulfilling than their present one.” Learning to share whatever resources we have is a way of life that brings lasting change and fulfillment.
How will you begin your search for a more fulfilling life?
Blessings on your efforts to begin with giving,
Judy Osgood | August 31, 2020
1For more about Jim Marsh Jr.’s Haitian dinner (referenced above), see More Than a Meal on Inward/Outward Together, the website of Church of the Saviour. And for more information on Faith and Money Network’s relationship with the economically poor people of the Ma community of Haiti, see COVID Relief for Haitian Partners.