According to the Bible, the Lord loves a cheerful giver.
I admit, I have not always given cheerfully.
There have been times I’ve donated to nonprofit groups, to fundraisers, to churches, and later wondered if maybe I could have given a little less and kept a little more for myself, just in case I needed it later
For instance Hawaii Children’s Theatre recently held a special admission deal, $6, if you brought a canned food donation for the food bank. So I filled a grocery sack with nonperishable canned and boxes food and arrived with my wife at Kauai War Memorial Convention Center on a Sunday afternoon for “Matilda the Musical.”
It was as we stood in line for tickets I noticed pretty much everyone else had one can of food. I started to wonder if perhaps I wasn’t giving a little too much and maybe I should sneak away to our car and take back some of those donations I earlier was happy to part ways with. After all, if it’s just one can that’s required for the discount, why give more?
I finally, and fortunately (mostly because my wife was standing there), opted to not be a Scrooge, a Grinch, what have you, and handed over the bag of food when it came my turn. But, it wasn’t exactly what anyone would call cheerful giving.
Same thing as I perused Longs for gifts on Sunday to fill two shoeboxes for a boy and a girl through the Operation Christmas Child program. I cringed over the final tab, far more than I expected to spend. Well, I thought, maybe I just won’t give the $9 for each shoebox they ask for to cover shipping costs to make up the difference. Yep, I’m that shallow and cheap. Fortunately I turned over the $20 along with the boxes but not entirely with a glad heart.
But I’m getting there.
I’ve come to know a homeless man lately. I’ve chatted with him over the past month or so, seeing him on some days when I run or when I’m walking home. He’s respectful and reserved, pleasant and calls me, “Doc.” Yet, I never offered him anything other than words. Sunday, though, I saw him as we headed to church, pausing and glancing in the door of a smoothie shop, then moving on. It crossed my mind that perhaps rather than simply saying a few kind words to this man, he might appreciate a little money for lunch or dinner. So later that day, when I saw him, I stopped the car, jogged over and gave him some.
His face lit up. He smiled and thanked me. I nodded and said, “Have a great day.”
Giving of our time, our talents, our love, and yes, even our money, is what makes this world better. Here on Kauai I have met scores of folks who gladly give, never seek anything in return and are reluctant to even let me mention it in the paper. These are the best of people, the kind of people I want to be like, and we need more like them.
In case you need a little encouragement to give a little or a lot more during this holiday season and beyond when so many are in need, here are a few sayings about generosity:
w “Real generosity is doing something nice for someone who will never find out.” — Frank A. Clark
w “Generosity is not giving me that which I need more than you do, but it is giving me that which you need more than I do.” — Kahlil Gibran
w “Give what you have. To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.” — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
w “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” —Winston Churchill
w “The value of a man resides in what he gives and not in what he is capable of receiving.” — Albert Einstein
And finally, this one, which applies to me:
w “We should give as we would receive, cheerfully, quickly, and without hesitation; for there is no grace in a benefit that sticks to the fingers.” —Seneca
Mahalo to all those who give with cheerful hearts.