Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Act of Giving

Hi Friends :)

I've been thinking a lot about charity lately. You know, the whole Sisterhood thing, the plunket collecting thing, and now the Unfolding Hope thing, and our Church just did its yearly Rise and Build offering.  So, giving has been in the forefront of my mind lately and on the tip of my tongue "What am I giving to this?" I seem to always be finding myself asking.

155 articles of clothing + toys from The Sisterhood for a family whose home burnt down 2 weeks ago

The danger with charity is that it can often become about the act. And you know, the act really isn't why I give. In my opinion, charity is often stale; Charity can become about people giving because they feel they have to. A few coins in a bucket and we'll call it being charitable. "Thanks a lot! It all adds up!" I would chime at the sound of a few coins dropping into my bucket a few weeks ago while collecting for an organisation we all know and mostly love and rely on. And you know what, it does all add up. Lots and lots of peoples 50c coins added up to $900 collected over the course of the week. That's a lot of small change and meant that our local Plunket could meet their yearly budget. However, charity can't end at small change but it often does for many people. That's why I think that charity is stale. It's a pre-after-thought. It's walking past a bucket and thinking "What change can I spare? I'll give them the silver and keep the gold". Thankyou, sincerely, but in my own opinion that's not being a giver.

Starting this humble little thing called The Sisterhood has taught me so much about what it means to be a giver. I have had regular conversations with ordinary women, stay at home mums, teachers,  sales people, advertisers, crafty folk, about what they can do to help and every time it blows me away. "You don't need to give every time!" I find myself saying over and over again. "But I want to!" they respond.

I am forever blown away by the givers out there. Giving is a way of life for these people, its who they are, what they stand for and how they live.

I wanted to write this because I feel that lately I have been asking for a lot of you, this is also something that i need to wrap my head around and learn; Its okay to ask. I suppose I am worried that you will feel weary of being asked for things, I can totally understand.

But I need you to know that if you don't want to give then I don't want you to. For me, giving is not about the act. Whether you give or not really isn't an issue for me (or God). I'm far more interested in the heart behind it. Are you giving because you want to? Or do you feel that I have guilted you into it? More rather, have you been moved by a particular story and you want to give but your heart is hard and you wont give?

The recipient of articles of clothes after her family home burnt down

When we give we are performing a physical act, but I have always said that its less about the act and more about the intention behind it. For example, we have a new mum who is tired, worn out and almost at the end of herself. She needs some time alone, or a night with her hubby, or she just needs a full nights sleep. To be honest there's not a heck of a lot we can do about that. That mum needs help beyond what we are able to offer - sure, we could buy them dinner out, but thats probably the extent of it as I don't have secret baby whispering powers. What we CAN do is provide some physical relief that represents what she needs. Maybe a hot cup of coffee? Some sweet treats in the mail that she would never go out and purchase herself? A magazine she can sit down to that gives her a break from morning infomercials and an unsettled baby?

Really, those little things are just representing what we would like to communicate: "You are cared about" and most importantly "You are not alone". This is the act of giving; When we leave our own world and join in someone elses.

So please be encouraged, whatever you give, whether its 50c or a few hundred dollars, you are telling someone that they are not alone. Some home-made biscuits can go a long way in healing someones soul. 

More on that later.

1 comment:

  1. Great post - we give money yes, but we give (we hope) to feed the soul and not just the body. That's how I feel anyway - I'd want the receiver to KNOW someone cared.


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