We live in a world where materialism reigns supreme. We are all guilt of competing with our loved ones for the most up to date product, self indulging and boasting about our material possessions on social media. While capitalism has resulted in the improvement of the quality of life for many, millions still live below the poverty line. We have forgotten the benefits of giving at a time when the world is deeply divided between the rich and the poor.
Giving is an act of sacrifice. We can all relate to the struggles of spending your own money on something or someone, rather than yourself. It’s a conflicting feeling when you know there is a lot you can do with the money you are giving to charity. However, you decide to forego your rights and privileges over the money to bring relief and cheer to another human being. You give because you have seen a need that can be fulfilled by the resources you have!
In contrast, if you give simply because you have no use for the materials you are giving, you may not feel like you are sacrificing. While giving from abundance is not prohibited or unethical, it is a fact that giving makes more meaning when it is done out of the desire to help another person even if that means that the giver will have to waive some benefits.
From the time we are born, we are accustomed to receiving. As new-borns, we experience the warmth of other people. Our parents, siblings and relatives receive us with a lot of joy. Gifts come our way even if we don’t know it. As we grow up, we receive gifts during birthday parties, Christmas and other festivals and events. As long as we remain under the custodianship of parents and guardians, we expect to be recipients.
Sooner or later, though, we become adults and realise that we are expected to start giving and stop expecting others to give us. That is the moment when we realise the gifts we used to unwrap were actually sacrifices from other people. Society now expects us to give to the less fortunate and to our family members. In a way, the moment we begin to give is the moment we begin to live.
What Then Is The Importance Of Giving?
Giving is an expression of our humanity. A human being is expected to be like a lake with an outlet. When the lake receives water, it must allow some of the water to flow out so that it can receive more. The movement of water energises the lake and gives life to the animals and plants within it. In contrast, when you stop giving, you become like the Dead Sea, a water body that receives without giving, and cannot support life. In essence, you give because you are created to give and that is how you prove you are indeed human.
It is also important to give because by so doing, you will help another human being to live and enjoy life. At the same time, you will be happier because you are helping others. You are lucky if you have everything you need. There are many more who cannot afford one meal a day. Millions have no place to live at a time when some people have more than one place they call home. If you rush to the doctor whenever you catch a cold, you need to know that there are some patients who cannot afford to see a doctor. If you are a parent, grandparent, child or grandchild, remember there are millions of orphans and homeless people on earth.
Giving is important to the soul because it is the best weapon against unfettered materialism. Materialism is a form of disease that is destroying the soul of humanity. A soul that does not give eventually dies out. When we allow selfishness to engulf our hearts and make us callous, we kill the very essence of our being. Giving, therefore, gladdens the soul because the soul was not created to be selfish. Shunning greed and selfishness is the best way to ensure that the resources on earth reach each and every inhabitant.
The soul is spiritual and thus amenable to giving. The Supreme Being, whatever name you choose to give it, is a force for good. One cannot claim to be spiritual if they don’t give. In some religions, a portion of one’s earnings are donated to the poor either directly or through a religious order. It is ironical for one to claim to believe in a Supreme Being yet remain immune or dumb to the needs of others. Religion always teaches how generous the Supreme Being is to humanity and thus expects that adherents will be kind to other believers and non-believers alike. We, therefore, give to follow religious instructions and to connect with the higher being. The soul finds happiness in giving because it is accustomed to God unlike the body and the mind.
We give because it is in generosity that we find the meaning of life and this fulfils the soul’s desire.
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Your Grace Guru