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Understanding the Audacity of Giving
The power of giving is actualized when you struggle to fill the innate void in your heart, which is trying to help the needy. Some people erroneously believed that only those that are financially buoyant should give to charity or to the less privileged.
You don’t have to be as rich as Warren Buffet or Bill Gates before you can think of giving. Having such defeated mindset is immoral. However, it is also good to remember that giving begins from the heart or personal will, you must desire it. This is a call to action- what every human person should do irrespective of our present material / financial dilapidating or astronomical status.
Make sure you are a giver- anyone can give, so far what you are giving will make a positive impact in the life of the receiver, and it is only then that it will be called a charitable gift. But it must be given without any condition, without expecting anything in return.
Furthermore, you don’t have to look for opportunities to do charity, because if you look around you, you will see a thousand and one causes to exercise charity. People face lots of problems- these people are all around us, many of them are not up to one meter away from us. The number of people facing starvation around the world is amazing, and it seems the statistics increases daily. We need to engage these people through our acts of charity despite our meager incomes and capabilities.
It looks stupid to wait until you have reached to your so- called pyramid of needs before helping others. The truth is that you will never reach that because human wants are insatiable and man by nature is selfish and greedy. Take time to work on yourself. The joy of having increases by continuous having- you will never be satisfied, it is a complex situation.
Some people do not give until they eventually die. If you keep waiting for that day when you must have fulfilled all your earthly needs, then you are wasting your time, because such longest day will never come. All through my years in the boarding school and during my undergraduate studies, I was privileged to live in the school hostels- this has exposed me to meeting so many characters- some people have told me that they can’t give because they don’t have any valuable thing to share with others. This belief is fallacious; fallacy simply means an error in reasoning. It is a fallacy because no matter your status, you still have something to give.
At one point, I was shocked when I asked a favor from a friend- I needed about $50 to offset some academic bills. This friend and supposedly role- model knew the importance of paying off those bills on time, and the consequences of not paying them within the shortest possible time- the deadline was about 2 days away.
I was 100% sure he has more than enough at that time, so it was easy for him to give me $500 if he had wanted to help. I was not asking him to give me the money, but I was begging him to give it to me as a loan- I even begged him to hold some of my personal valuables- clothes, shoes, and wristwatches which worth more than the $50 I needed. To my utmost chagrin, my friend declined, saying that he has always advised people to live within their means, and he suggested to me, to withdraw my application if I can’t afford ordinary $50 to clear the debts, and to continue when I have the funds.
I looked at my friend, lost in thought and in an utter shock; he cited another reason for not helping. Guess what he said this time? ‘Well, Ethel why are you disturbing me to help you right now, what if I give you the $50 and something happen to you, that you become incapacitated to pay back within the time frame of three weeks, as you cited or even worse something happens to you, and you die- who will pay me the hard-earned money?’ I quickly made the sign of the cross, and disclaimed it.
This story may sound funny, but it truly happened. But such people are yet to understand the principles of giving, as well as the personal benefits derived from extending a helping hand to another. Most of them are good in quoting the scriptures, and even speaking in tongues, but the real life of Christ is lacking in them.
Real givers do not give because they don’t have problems, or because they have enough, instead they give because they have the passion to do so. I have taken time to study some philanthropists- some of them didn’t start giving at the time they have acquired wealth- most of them probably did not know they will be as successful as they are now before starting the charitable work.
Giving to charity doesn’t entail material gifts only; sharing our ideas can make great impact in people’s lives. Ideas transform the world- making it a better place. A leader loaded with profitable ideas will go places within a twinkle of an eye. Some of the great achievements in the world emanated from simple ideas. Do not be afraid to share your thoughts with others- you may not know the powerful transformative effect it will have on them. Even by listening and reflecting on your own ideas, you can be motivated by them. Ideas are the easiest and safest way to unlock your potentials- selfless giving works the same way.
I have lived in Nigeria for greater part of my life. I have observed the actions of some givers, but I wish to single out and give credit to T. B Joshua. This man has given over $20 million to charity according to Forbes Magazine within three years. His philanthropic disposition has earned him many awards of excellence. I was attracted to his giving heritage simply by watching some of his TV programs. He has motivated me; his giving lifestyle is miles away from most of the 21st century preachers. I am also aware that there are many people like him, who are deeply involved in helping the needy.
The best way to live a meaningful life is by giving to those in need your hard-earned currencies without expecting anything in return- you will experience internal peace of mind, and health when you do this, and believe me you will never lack- that is the secret of selfless giving.
You cannot say you have given, until you give to the needy from the little you have, it is only on this juncture that you can beat your chest, and say at least I have touched humanity with my meager resources. The widow in the Holy Writ was praised not because of the value of her gift, but because she gave out of the little she had- that act of sparing something out of the little she had captured the attention of Jesus.
Giving is a powerful thing that whatever you give comes back to you, give selflessly. People can convince you to stop receiving, but do not allow anyone to stop you from giving. Your gift can never be an obstacle to your success, unless you are faithless. Keep giving, and your cup will be overflowing. Giving makes you stronger.
Whenever you interact with someone, do not leave that person without any kind of gift, it could be a gesture, a thing, a kind word, a thought etc- the best gifts are the ones that emanates straight from the heart.
Some may not appreciate your gifts, while others will. Do not waste your time thinking how the gift was received, but the value it brings to the recipient and to the world. A dedicated giver will have more and more to give- as you keep giving, your life will be enriched with more gifts from above.
I was privileged to go through a great book, The Power of Giving- it is a book that explains to you the secrets of getting all you want in life. Giving will benefit both you and the recipient. The authors Harvey McKinnon and Azim Jamal didn’t mince words by saying how you can achieve the greatest satisfaction, happiness and impact. This literary masterpiece on giving is indeed inspiring and life-changing.
Living in the 21st century is a challenging task more than ever. You hardly see time to do all the things you had wanted. To make a living, you need to work hard, spend quality time with your friends, pay your bills, and buy necessities, irrespective of these pressures, try to spare some time to give.
Besides giving you more happiness, fulfillment and meaning, giving offers other benefits; physical, emotional and financial. All the things you have received in life and receiving now were given by those that preceded you. The teachers who taught you in school, the doctors and nurses that attends to you in hospitals. The strangers and people you have met on the road to life- when you reflect on these and more, you will discover that a lot of people have truly made impact in your life, some were positive, while others might be negative. Why not try to leave a positive impact on the life of whoever you meet?
The world population is about 6 billion people, and out of this number, more than 30% is starving, about 1.5 billion cannot boast of good water, good houses, cannot pay for their hospital bills especially in the third world countries. Over 20 million people are suffering torture, imprisonment, war and so on.
At least one child dies out of every preventable diseases like measles, malaria. More than 10% are illiterate, even the world’s richest country, the United States is not left out, and more than one hundred thousand people are homeless annually as a result of one ecological problem or the other.
In your local community, you will see people with great needs- despite your personal problems and challenges, you can choose to either help them, change their lives or you do nothing and then loose the benefits that go with giving. Keep in mind that whoever takes time to challenge any situation; such people receive more than they can ever ask for.
Whenever you give, you are assured of receiving good health’s, new relationships, spiritual blessings from people- the voice of people is the voice of God (Vox Populi, Vox Dei), peace and love, a sense of accomplishment, pride and empowerment.
Amazingly, if you give and expecting a reward, then you will not receive any- your giving ought to come with love, selflessness and joy. What matters is the attitude you bring into the giving. Your parents or guardians share their food, shelter and other belongings with you simply because they love you, not because they want you to pay them back. You can never pay back the amount of love and care your parents invested on you. The purpose of giving would be defeated the moment we start to expect anything in return.
Giving enables you to strengthen your soul and connect with people. By rededicating yourself to the act of giving, you are exercising your soul. Your fears will diminish by giving. The most effective way of reducing your fears is by focusing on making a difference in the life of people. Giving minimizes self-centeredness. If you are a true giver, you will never lack companionship in your difficult situation.
One can give by volunteering for a cause, it could be visiting the prisoners- bringing to them the message of hope; it could be volunteering for work in the community you find yourself. This type of giving enhances your immune systems, strengthens your heart, reduces stress, chest pains etc. The world will be a peaceful paradise if everyone strives to make a positive difference. No man is an island; there is something in you that will be of great benefits to another. Nobody is an embodiment of anything- you need the help of another to survive.
You can choose to do something now or never- unfortunately, some people live in the world, and yet are blind to champion or support a cause. Discover a cause that will make a great difference in your life and in the lives of people. Things will change in an amazing way when you dedicate yourself to a cause. You will achieve your full potential when you help others.
Besides inspirational speaking and writing, I have dedicated myself to the humanitarian work, no matter how small it is- I will never be tired of giving. I have discovered that it is more gracious to give than to receive. My ambition is to lose myself in the service of others- there is no doubt that I will actualize my potentials through these ways.
If you have mastered the art of giving, you will exercise this activity even when you have available resources. I marveled when I see people who are endowed with wealth, but who have never mastered these secrets.
Somebody told me the other day, that he need to settle himself before thinking of helping others, to crown his argument, he quoted Maslow’s theory of needs- that one basic need ought to be satisfied before moving to the next.
Well, I am not against people taking proper care of themselves- eating good foods, going to well-equipped hospitals, wearing good clothes, driving good cars, living in well-furnished houses, etc. There is nothing wrong with that, they are all evidences of good living. But everything is wrong when we only think of ourselves forgetting that someone out there is not even sure of his next meal or even has nothing to wear.
I have learned to give, not because I have much, but because I understood how it feels to have none. Blessed are the hands that give, for they shall receive multiple favors from God. Don’t give faithlessly, give in faith and above all be cheerful while sparing something from the little you have. This is the hallmark of true living.
Abraham Maslow was a great psychologist who propagated the famous ‘hierarchy of needs’ theory. He spent a great deal of time studying human motivation, and even went ahead to create a pyramid showing the needs of people that ought to be fulfilled against all odds.
His theory was deeply psychological, starting with the ultimate needs of man such as air, water, foods, shelter or sense of warmth, sleep, sex etc. The second level talks about satisfying the needs of our security like social order, protection from external elements, law etc. The third level is about the social needs of man, love, family, workgroup, relationships etc. The last level is all about satisfying the egocentric needs of man such as achievement, responsibility, reputation, prestige, status, independence and so on.
Initially, Self-actualization occupies the center stage of the five-level. This can only be satisfied through self-fulfillment, personal growth. In his later theories, self-actualization is at the seventh stage topping the other two levels- aesthetic needs-balance, beauty, form, and cognitive needs- search for meaning, knowledge, self-awareness.
Some of Maslow’s disciples added spiritual needs, this can be achieved via helping others realize their dreams and reach their full potentials. According to Maslow, all these levels have to be achieved before you can think of meeting the needs of your neighbor.
To me, in as much as I marvel at his deep analysis, I am still not comfortable with his conclusion. Man is a seeker, he can never be satisfied. It is important to note that every human person deserves the right to reach their dreams of excellence- You are a failure if you have not touched at least a life positively today. Your giving right now will make people come closer to their dreams. It is our fundamental duty to help people meet their safety and psychological needs.
When you look around the world even in the west, you will see millions of people lacking the basic necessities of life, while thousands are living in abundance, there are lots of work to do. The world has enough food, water, and resources that will perfectly solve man’s myriads of problems. There is no contest on this, unfortunately, they are unequally distributed, and that is why many are poor. I am because you are, and you are because I am. You are my strength, and I am your strength- by helping you, I am also helping myself. We need one another to realize our goals. Martin Buber was very clear on this when he philosophized his famous ‘I-thou theory’.
When you strive to help each other, you will experience internal peace, wisdom from above, greater compassion, and better relationships. When you want to give, don’t allow the environment or culture to form your opinion.
Let your thoughtful and generous gifts be limitless, and believe me you will never exhaust the favors that will come from it. Don’t give because you will be expecting to receive a thank You from above, but give faithfully because it is good to make others experience happiness, fulfillment and meaning in their lives.
By giving, you lessen your burdens. If you encounter difficulties in your finances or businesses, instead of grumbling, sow a seed to unlock the situation. Only a faithful and courageous giver can do this. Giving is something you do with passion and enthusiasm. If you are experiencing difficulties in your career- I will suggest to you just one key-‘give’. Giving helps you to move further. Difficult time is the safest period to make a sacrifice. The secret of prosperity is in giving.
God respects costly gifts- this was why he preferred the gift of Abel better than Cain’s. He also respected the offering of King of Moab and He turned against his people, Israel, even though He had earlier promised them that they will be victorious in the war.
God was moved with the sacrifice of the King of Moab (2 Kings 3: 1-27); who sacrificed his eldest son that should have reigned in his stead, and there was a great indignation against Israel. God was moved with the Abraham’s readiness to sacrifice His only son without complaints. The only way to provoke God in His throne is through selfless giving. Challenge Him now, and your life will never remain the same. I am a witness!
As a young student learning Latin, I fell in love with a powerful saying ‘Nemo Sibi Sacerdos’ (No one is a priest for himself) – the emphasis here is that we are not living for ourselves alone, we are living for others. Christ is the hope of glory for all believers. He is the bread broken for the life of man; He came not to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many
The more you give, the more you receive. In the words of Cornel West, a philosopher-theologian, ‘a rich life consists in serving others, making the world a better place’. You can have a rich life right now if you chose to. You are not rich if you are wealthy, or intelligent, but indisposed to share your knowledge and possessions with the needy, the imprisoned, beggars on the streets, hungry-looking children at the mother’s babies home, and refugee camps. You are graciously saved from being in those ugly situations because God want you to let your light shine on them. We are called to give our wealth, time, talents and knowledge on our neighbors.
It is a saga for someone to worth billions of dollars but doesn’t have any cause to dedicate some part of that money. Life is too short to be greedy. You can only drive one car at a time, live in one house at a time, even in that house, you can never sleep in more than one room at a time- so why acquiring all the pleasures of life in excess? It makes no meaning. Life ought to be shared.
One of the truths about life I have learnt is that you receive what you give. If you give happiness, then happiness will be your reward, if you give wealth, the same, if you are thirsting for love, then you will need to give love- you can never receive bountifully if you are armchair giver or greedy giver, because giving unleashes breakthroughs, fulfillment, happiness and potentials. In fact, whenever you are giving, consider it a privilege.
The power and beauty of giving is when you give wholeheartedly, giving flows out of compassion and love and this keep growing as you become a better giver. A greedy giver feels shortchanged, deprived, and unfulfilled when they give, but a cheerful giver feels happy and fulfilled after giving.
Give to those that have hurt you in the past, who ordinarily do not deserve your gift. This is the surest way to leave a positive imprint in their lives. Tremendous benefits await cheerful givers. It is a great privilege to be an inspiration to others, through the ministry of giving. We don’t live for ourselves alone.
Your simple gift of smile, a card, a homemade gift, special touch, note of thanks, running an errand, babysitting and so on may be more meaningful to your neighbor than hundreds of preaching. Giving is action.
Giving entails the transfer of a valuable to someone without expecting anything in return, or the habit or act of giving freely without the expectation of receiving anything in return, or the act of helping the needy that is not in any way related to us. I came across the best-selling book by Bill Clinton, Giving: How each of us can change the World. His analyses on these were inspirational.
It reveals the great ways how big companies, organizations, individuals and governments are impacting the world and challenges us to always think of how each one of us can make the world a better place, regardless of our age, available time, income, and skills, so that people can have a chance of living out their dreams, and fulfilling their potentials.
He spent time sharing his own experiences and those of others, introducing us to both familiar and unfamiliar heroes and heroines of giving. The gift of time, skills, ideas, smile, and others are as important as the gift of money or material possessions.
He divided philanthropy into six essential parts, namely giving time, giving things, giving skills, giving gifts of reconciliations and new beginnings, giving gifts that keep on giving, and giving to good ideas. If you can give out only two percent of your total income to humanitarian causes, extreme poverty and hunger in the society would have been committed into flame.
We can give back to the society through making monetary donations, organizing and volunteering for noble causes. Each of us is capable of making a great difference today. The world is in dire need of compassionate people, compassion is merely how we treat and think of others. God promotes us when we help others to succeed or fulfill their dreams.
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