The Art of Giving

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.

Hmmm

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. Lets realize that when we give our time, our money, our ear, or our loveand
when we do it cheerfullywe are the ones who receive the reward! That is the Art of Giving!

Because Together is Better,


Comments

  1. I love this…and am reading more about it in The Power! Great reminder…i absolutely love giving~
    Thanks D.. xo

  2. I wrote a few days ago about the art of receiving – and not robbing the giver of the greatness of their gift. It seems to be a theme these days.

  3. Magdalena says:

    …it was as I was reading through my own experience, sometimes on a subway there are kids selling candies for a “purpose” – sometimes I think they are scammers – but who am I to judge them. We – I definitely need to learn how to give back without asking – it is so simple but so difficult.

  4. Yes! Be a cheerful giver for sure! And this is one that my parents taught me when I was very young (and also one that I’ve had the msot folks come against me and tell me how naive and stupid I am for giving to certain things), but I feel like it’s not my job to judge what they’re going to do with it, it’s my job to be a cheerful giver, as unto the Lord, and they are responsible for their own choices.

    I had a kid come up to me in the BEst Buy parking lot over the weekend for the SAME organization and I gave him a few bucks because that’s all the cash I had. It wasnt enough to buy one of his gifts int he box, but I just said to put the money towards his cause.

  5. Noelle Stanley says:

    I love it and o so true. Thank you Deanna for your wonderful words of grace and wisdom. May we all open our hearts and give our love, money, talents, kind words and joy to others. As we give we lift others up and as we do that we lift ourselves up. Keep lifting us all my dear friend!!!

  6. Daddy G says:

    imho, Deanna, this is your best post ever…

    First of all, what a fantastic story about a very unique life experience, and who better to experience it than YOU – equipped and positioned to share it with so many others!
    I’m calling “God Thing”.

    I see both of your perspectives equally. However, unlike your sweet sister, my skepticism of being “hoodwinked” all so often results in me guiltily passing by those in genuine need. On the other hand, I know that we are all called to give unconditionally and let God sort the rest out, right? When we follow that model – your point – blessings flow both ways; some we see, most we don’t. Well, thanks to the Blessing Bag program, I am beginning to feel and act more compassionately and think less cynically with each.

    Once again – thanks for your insight and eloquence.
    Oh and thanks for the Pixy Stix too, they were awesome! :~)>

  7. A very good read!

  8. The more we give, the more we receive… It’s a universal law!

  9. This is a great story. I really love the quote at the end!
    I love it, Thank You!

  10. I fear I get hoodwinked as well. People come into our shop from the hospital across the street. I can tell they are down-and-out, and I always help. But I do try to be as equitable as possible, and sometimes I get hoodwinked by people who take advantage of my nature. That’s the story of my life!

  11. Great story. Reminds me of how others say negative comments when I give to a homeless person holding a sign at the stoplight. I tell those people, it’s not my business to be concerned if they go buy booze or whatever…who am I to judge? I am just giving full-heartedly and leaving the rest up to God.

  12. Yes, you are absolutely on point! We should give from our hearts genuinely and wholeheartedly without feeling obligation! Love this article!

  13. Thank you for the excellent reminder!

  14. I am with you Gigi! I am wondering on the backstory of the young man as well! lol This is a nice post! It is always good to be a happy giver.

    Yvonne Brown

  15. I have found that while giving helps those we choose to help it also does wonders for the giver.

  16. I would do anything to help kids… Donate, volunteer whatever it took to help kids… And always do it with a smile! I always think if it were my kids who needed help, there would be someone there to help in the same way.

  17. It’s so easy to come up with excuses not to give. I think our mind sometimes goes into automatic “no” mode when someone asks us to support something and it’s going to cost us something. You’re right. If we’re going to give, we should do it gladly.

  18. What a lovely story
    Yes, giving opens all hearts

  19. It is an ‘art’ to give!! Thanks for the insight and the info on giving, something for everyone to think about!!

  20. If I had to choose between being conned by a scam artist and not helping someone in need, I’m happy to be hoodwinked. Every time.

  21. Hmmmm….I am also wondering about the back story on this boy. Just curious! Anyway, good for you in being the gracious giver!!
    I heard a speaker last year that really impacted my thoughts about giving to someone in scenarios like these. She said that she always had a couple dollars in her purse ready to give to anyone that asked. She felt like God called her to give in this way and what the other person did with the money was absolutely none of her business. That was between God and the person who received the gift. This freed her to experience the joy of gratuitous giving:)

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