When We Give to Others….

Dr. Chapman states that “When we give to others, we reflect His love.”

Yesterday I posted about R.G. LeTourneau, one of most giving people I have ever heard about.

What about America as a country?

Do we give to others?

Turns out we do.  In the 2014 World Giving Index conducted by the international organization Charities Aid Foundation, America ranked number 1 in volunteering, helping strangers and giving money.  The Charities Aid Foundation looked at 135 countries and we tied with the tiny country of Myanmar, which has a high level of giving per capita [91% of 53 million people are charitable…in the US, we have 315 million people and can muster more volunteers and money].

Mr. LeToureau’s wife Evelyn was very “like-minded” when it came to giving.  She told him one time “I think we’ve got to do more.”

Why don’t we all do more?

Professionals who know about the psychology of giving point to four factors which I think are right on target.

1.We have a major disaster in Nepal right now, with thousands of people getting killed and becoming homeless due to an massive earthquake.  We see the people and the devastation but we don’t zero in on a single suffering person.  That is a key.  We need to see and feel the suffering of a person rather than the massive numbers of sufferers.   Most of us don’t comprehend the suffering on a massive scale.  We can’t relate to it but make it personal and it all changes.

2.Can I make a difference?  Some worry that time and money can be easily squandered.  We can all give time to others and if that is lost, I guess we easily just take it as a loss, but for many, money is another matter.  For example, if you are giving money to feed children, you want the money to go to buy food and actually feed the children.  You don’t want administrative costs, shipping and other matters to consume the dollars spent.

3.Am I responsible?  This question gets at the heart of giving.  If a person feels responsible for others, they will more likely help.  If a person does not feel any responsibility, they distance themselves from the people who need aid.  It becomes someone else’s problem.  Or you may hear phrases like “they brought it on themselves.”

4.Worry about how much gift is needed can stop giving in its tracks.  If you see a homeless person on the street and this person is on your route to work every day, he will confront you with his needs every day.  You stop one day and give him some money and then you see him the next day and the next.  Do you go right by him, ignoring him the next time and the next time?   I have had conversations with people who are generous to people with great needs.  The needy person may make contact with the giver and ask for more.  They have so much less than you do.  Why can’t you give them more?  When is the gift good enough?

In my opinion, we need to pay attention to the Holy Spirit which we all have.  What is that discerning voice telling you about the level of need and your level of aid?  What is that Holy Spirit telling you about the person who is receiving your aid?  Do they really need it?  Do they appreciate it?  Are they people of good character?

I have heard church people say that “poor people are just out to scam you.”

That may be the case but should we be focused on that?

Again, I return to the admonition of Dr. Chapman: “When we give to others, we reflect His love.”  Another admonition [Jesus Christ talking about the hungry, the thirsty, the people needing clothes, the sick, and the people in prison]: “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25: 40.

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