The other day I found myself sitting in a restaurant by myself for lunch. I had a full day of errands to complete and a time schedule to keep. I ran in to get a quick bite before heading back to my tasks for the day.
As I sat there engrossed in my veggie stir fry, I was approached by a young boy trying to sell me a huge box of pixy stix. He was rattling off a bunch of information as I was simultaneously half listening and devouring my lunch…“support children”…”stay off drugs”…”please help”…”donate”.
When I finally focused on the boy and his words, I realized he wanted me to give him money to support some children’s club for under privileged children, which will help them stay off drugs. Since this was a Wednesday during lunch, I asked him if he attended school. He said he did. I then asked him why he wasn’t in school right now. He said his teacher took him and a bunch of kids to this shopping center to sell candy so they could raise money for their program.
I was very skeptical. I did not want to support this “Teacher” as it seemed fishy to me. What was this man doing making kids peddle candy in a restaurant during school hours? Why was this restaurant allowing this boy to bother patrons? What did this money really go towards? He was asking $5 for two Pixy Stix??? That’s a huge profit margin and highway robbery! I then started thinking of and delivering my excuses: “Sorry, I’m not eating sugar right now and I don’t want my kids to have those sugar sticks either.”, “I really don’t have the time right now.” And the final excuse, “No thank you, I’m not interested.”
As these excuses were flowing out of my mouth effortlessly, my mind was having its own internal battle: Why was I spending so much time telling this boy no? What if this money will ultimately change this boy’s life? Who was I to be skeptical of this polite boy? Aren’t we supposed to give to others? I have the money right in my wallet. I’ve needed help in the past, and what if this boy really needs my help? So what if I don’t really know where the money is going? Isn’t giving supposed to be just that…”Giving”?
My mind then drifted to the act of giving. To give with total love is a feeling like no other. Was I cheating myself by being a skeptic? Yes I was. Giving with no expectations is the most beautiful act in the world. Why was I trying to hold back $5, when it wouldn’t affect me financially in the least, and it might mean the world to someone else? Why was I giving any of this any thought at all? I should, with a loving heart, absolutely give him some money!
After we exchanged two large Pixy Stix for a five dollar bill and he trotted on to his next unsuspecting customer, the real lesson here hit my between the eyes:
If I am going to give, I need to do it cheerfully and without condition or stipulation!
2 Corinthians 9:7 says: Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
In my skepticism, my initial mind-set was not allowing me to be a cheerful giver, and my attitude was one of obligation.
That kind of giving never feels good, as it feels forced and not good-natured.
Once my mind battle was over, I was able to shift my attitude to one of a cheerful, loving, compassionate giver…that felt much better…and that is how giving should be done!
Giving is about giving, not about what is received in return.
This should never have been about the value of the Pixy Stix, but about helping a fellow human being!
Take Action: This week and moving forward, let’s all try to be generous and loving givers. Let’s not feel like we are giving out of obligation, but out of pure love and joy for the recipient. Let‘s realize that when we give our time, our money, our ear, or our love…and
when we do it cheerfully…we are the ones who receive the reward! That is the Art of Giving!
Because Together is Better,