Giving = Love?
“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” – Mother Teresa
February has been called “the month of love”. I’m not sure about you but I’m not seeing a whole lot of “love” in the news lately. Our “me-first” culture often creates and sustains a perfect environment for the opposite of love – selfishness, indifference, and hate – to take root, like some kind of virus we can’t find a cure for.
We propose one solution: generosity. Generosity is the best antidote we know of for treating selfishness and indifference. Generosity is not simply giving money away as some may suppose – it’s much more than that.
A simple way to describe generosity is showing kindness toward others. But what does this look like? It means giving of ourselves, all that we are and have, for the benefit of others. We can be generous toward others in the smallest of ways, and in doing so begin to detox our culture of its greatest ills. This is because it is literally impossible to be truly generous and selfish at the same time.
While leading a life of generosity seems like a no-brainer, many of us struggle with how to do this. You may even think you don’t have anything to offer or that your little gestures wouldn’t make much of a difference when compared to the enormity of the problems this world faces. Or maybe you fear that by giving too freely you would have less. On the contrary, the opposite is true.
When you live a life of generosity a fuller, richer life awaits you.
Let’s see how this works. We can probably all agree that the teaching “it is more blessed to give than to receive” is true. But if you are like many folks we talk to, you may have some questions: “Where do I start? What do I give? How do I give?”
The answers start with looking at what is right in front of you. We never have to go very far to see needs all around us. What’s right in front of you today? Take a look around; people are in need everywhere. Consider how you can make a difference starting today, doing what you can, when you can, with what you have.
There are countless ways for generosity to take hold in your life. Even small efforts like ridding our lives of clutter and giving our excess to others can make a big difference. Perhaps for you giving can start by simply clearing out a closet of old clothes you haven’t worn in a while and giving them to someone who needs them.
Be intentional in finding little ways to bless others every day, like holding the door open for others before rushing in yourself. Or carrying groceries to someone’s car. Or generously giving away compliments like they were free candy. This alone would make a nice contrast from the complaints and criticism so predominant in our culture today. Even a smile can be an amazing gift to someone who’s having a bad day. And the gift of listening can change a friend’s life.
Stop for a moment and consider what you can start doing to give more of yourself. You may think you don’t have much to give, but it doesn’t have to be your money or possessions. When you focus on who you are, why you are here, and what you want to do with your life, you will begin to find that you have a lot of something that people around you need: YOU, the authentic you.
If you give of yourself each day you can have an amazing impact on the world. Pursue what you are passionate about and commit to loving others. If we all committed to do this starting today, this February just might become the greatest month of love ever!
Where will you start being more generous in your world?
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Blessings and love to you all,
Bob and Susan Karcher