“The greatest poverty is the inability to give.”
I came across this striking quote a few months ago when I browsed a book on mentoring (or life coaching as others refer it). I let it brew over my head for quite sometime, ruminating on the truth it unmistakably conveys. Indeed, poverty is not characterized by paucity –of scarcity in things that are seen, but it is a result of one’s indifference to open one’s eyes and heart to the groans of a panting heart. No, we need not be better-off in order to give, for in this world there is so much that we can offer aside from a few spare coins that we can toss uncaringly into an emaciated hand. Our time, our talents, our service, a word of advice, whatever resource we may have the capacity to share–so long as we extend it with a sincere and cheerful heart, and it does meet one life’s need of the hour, oh, it’s as if we will have given a most precious gem.
Truly, when we give cheerfuly and not under compulsion, there is a sense of satisfaction in knowing we have been a channel of blessings to others. God’s word rings true that “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)
There have been many occasions in my life when I have experienced how God returned and paid back what we had freely given to others –be they blood relatives, brothers in the faith, the destitute and the sick. His outpour of blessings was way beyond what we expected. Truly, a person who gives — one who is generous, is one who has placed himself in a position to receive much much more.
It delights me to study and learn what God’s Word has to say on the issue of giving or generosity.God, our heavenly Father, himself has shown us by example what giving means.
“He who did not spare his own son, but GAVE him UP for us all. How will he not also alsong with him(Christ), graciously GIVE us all things?”
“One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.” (Proverbs 11:24)
“A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” (Prov 11:25)
“A gift opens the way for the giver and ushers him into the presence of the great.” (Proverbs 18:6)
“A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor.” (Proverbs 22:9)
“For even the son of man did not come to be served but to serve and to GIVE his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)
A giving person considers the interest of others before his own. He has stopped looking inward and pampering his fleshly appetite as he listens to the groans of his neighbor’s heart. He does not hoard. He does not covet. He does not close his eyes nor turns his back on an opportunity to reach out. Neither does he delay, dilly dally nor postpone his charity. He responds with spring on his feet and joy in his heart. He delights in helping ease up another man’s burden. He desires to put a smile on somebody else’s lips and cast a sparkle on one’s forlorn eyes.
A meaningful life is a life of service. A life of service is characterized by giving. Giving is living. He who gives, lives.
For a forty year old woman like me who has received more than what I dreamed of from my loving maker, giving is the secret to living. And for what remains of my earthly life, I pledge that this tiny speck, this wilting flower, and this mist that would soon fade away like a bubble popped by the gentlest of breeze, follow the road trodden by the perfect one– He who is love personified, he who gave and emptied himself up, he who became poor so that we might be rich. That road is less trodden. It is narrow, thorny. It is reviled, spat upon. It is oftentimes a lonely way where shame, persecution and suffering are commonplace. Going that direction requires a costly sacrifice. BUT at the end of that road awaits the lover of my soul whose words I yearn to hear:
“We’ll done, my good and faithful servant.”