WE are known historically and worldwide to be a generous nation, a giving community and people
WE are known historically and worldwide to be a generous nation, a giving community and people who care for others. Is this something that is changing and slowly disappearing from our national character?
A snippet that popped up on social media last week — and has stuck unpalatably with me — made me sad with its cynicism and attempt at wit. Maybe, underlying, there was a measure of truth.
It read: “There were three people sitting at a table with a plate of 20 biscuits: a banker, a worker and an asylum seeker. The banker took 19 biscuits and told the worker to be careful or the asylum seeker would take his.”
Generosity of spirit is taught consistently as part of the Christian message. The words of Jesus are recorded in Acts: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” It is in the act of giving that we receive. Giving of our time and energy, as well as from our pockets, we receive untold riches as we share in the lives of others.
As we follow the way of Jesus, the love and generosity of God become part of who we are. Christ laid aside his glory and limited his divine power, taking upon himself our human form. He gave of himself and poured out his life that we might live.
As we think of God’s love for us, his generosity of Spirit in his willingness to forgive our sin is humbling and overwhelming! My response is to open my heart and allow His Spirit to flow through me to share this bounty with others. The gift of giving and sharing is not something to be passed over quickly and forgotten. Rather it is something to be nurtured, to be practised, passed on and expressed in new ways.
Mother Teresa said that we should never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.
At times, this may seem to jar with our modern cultural ideas and things we had assumed “everyone does” may not be quite as we thought.
Perhaps, it’s time for us to put forward again the power of kindness, of caring and generosity. If we are laughed at or taken for granted along the way, so what? Rather this than being criticised for being ungracious and selfish. Kindness and a love of giving graciously to those around us will always reap its reward.
When we follow the golden rule to treat others the same way we want to be treated, a chain reaction of positive action flows.
Doing this practically can begin in a simple way to another — by giving our time, our attention. Even if we don’t get an immediate response, the thought of helping someone is rewarding in itself and makes us better people for it.