Some people are always greedy for more, but the godly love to give! (Proverbs 21:26)
Relate: I did an internship in the Bronx a good 15 years ago or so. There was a White Castle nearby and it was my first experience with that sliver of grease they claim to be a burger. Love at first bite. I made a point of going by at a certain time each day to grab three for the ridiculously cheap price of a buck fifty or whatever they were going for.
There was this homeless guy who had set up shop about a block away and after a couple days of going by without doing anything I started giving him that third burger. I did this for a couple days before deciding to go a little further. The next day I bought three for me and three for him for what was becoming a daily ritual. Within a week his friend somehow “happened” to be there one day so I gave him my share and went without. (My cholesterol thanked me profusely for this short reprieve)
Soon I was scheduling a little extra time so that the three of us could do lunch together and share a bit of our story along with some food. More than once the three of us had another guest or two and I would walk back to buy a little more. This was probably the best part of many of my days there and I wish I knew what became of those gentlemen.
React: I’d almost forgotten about those lunches until a recent visit back to the city on a recent day off. I stopped and listened to a guy playing some sweet jazz on Fifth Ave near Rockefeller Center. In the ten minutes or so I was there I must have easily seen a hundred people walk by. At least half made a point of not noticing the musician and his open case with a few bucks in it. If they slowed down to notice and enjoy the music, if they even looked in his direction, they might be expected to give and that simply was not an option.
I shouldn’t be too harsh. Some were probably in a hurry to get back to their monotonous jobs in some cubicle a few dozen stories up in some nearby building. Others were probably tourists who were given strict instructions by “knowledgeable” friends to not give to the beggars. Whatever the reason the desire to hold on to a couple extra bucks denied them the ability to truly hear the sweetness of the music.
And that’s the way it goes. Yes, generosity might cost a bit of money, but what we get back in a sense of well being, in experience, in relationships, in gratitude from the beneficiary far more than make up the cost. I am firmly convinced that generosity is a far cheaper and more effective cure for depression than the pharmaceutical poisons passing themselves off as antidepressants these days. Give it a try. Next time you’re feeling down do an intentional act of generosity for someone else. Watch and see how right I am.
God, I know that no matter how hard I try, I can never out give you. It is something I hear so often at offering times in church it almost seems cliche’, but it is still true. Help me to seek out times and ways that I can be generous. Help me to be more concerned that my hands remain open than that my schedule and my wallet remain full. You are a giving God. I want to be like You.