We often talk about how hard it is to give of our hard-earned material possessions but how, once we overcome our hesitations, we reap great rewards. Giving makes us feel good. It actually promotes good health – Google it! It’s true. We share and then we feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
In my years working with churches I’ve seen countless smiling people pull up and drop off bags full of groceries, coats and clothing for those in need, baby items, cash donations and more. The sentiment was nearly universal. “I am so thankful to be able to give this. I’m glad someone will be able to put it to good use.”
It’s an amazing thing to witness. I truly believe that people who give to those in need are reflecting the very face of God.
On the other hand, the people coming to claim those items would have tears of shame in their eyes. Their cheeks would burn red as they said, “I know I was just here 3 weeks ago and the rules say 4 but we don’t have any more diapers. Can you help?”
They would sob, openly, and say, “I’m so sorry! I tried to pay the rent. We just couldn’t do it. I’ve never asked anything like this before.”
They would come in with furtive glances, hoping no one would see them and judge them.
And then there are those who are obviously struggling. The people who just can’t make ends meet this month but would rather go hungry than ask for help. “I won’t go to the food pantry. That’s for poor people who really need it,” they say, not willing to be identified as one of “those people.”
I find myself falling into this pattern, even in the giving and receiving of Christmas gifts. I was mortified to be given a large bag of homemade treats by a lovely woman at my church when I hadn’t even thought to send her a card. It was sheer joy to give gifts this year but receiving them… especially that one… it was hard to do.
What do you think? Is it harder to give or receive?
Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?
If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!