Giving Tuesday is upon us… a movement created to encourage an international day of giving at the beginning of holiday season. A whole day set aside with the intent to give… after we’ve already overspent on Black Friday (and don’t forget the new and ever popular shop til you drop off your couch Cyber Monday).
How generous I’m sure we’ll be.
After we’ve bought what we’ve wanted… after we’ve spent more than we should have… after we’re too tired, stressed out, and don’t want to think about one more person to buy something nice for, Giving Tuesday comes around to remind other people who have more than us to give something to someone who has less.
What a noble idea… for other people anyway…
After all, we’re broke after a weekend of buying things we think we should have, or have been told we need to buy for people who we don’t know well enough to buy the things they really want and will probably take back… or “re-gift” to someone else.
Yes, we’ve done all the giving we possibly could… right? I mean, anything at this point could really make things too uncomfortable. Surely there are others more qualified (a pastor or missionary maybe)… others better suited (someone with more money could certainly give more)… or at the very least, there has to be someone more… willing?
We can try to shove altruism onto someone else all we want, but the truth is, anyone can give at any moment in time. What keeps us from giving isn’t our bank account, or where we live, or how much we “wish we could help”… what keeps us from giving is our selfishness.
We want what we want when we want it… before anyone else can have it, and then, when having that item for even one moment longer disgusts us?… we throw it in a big ol’ garbage bag and give it to someone in need.
How generous of us.
Is this really the best we can do? Have we become so self-serving that even the simple act of blessing someone else can’t be accomplished unless we’re getting something out of it? Are we so pious that we believe altruism is nothing more than getting rid of our cast offs? Have we lost the true meaning of generosity by running a lottery in our mind based on who is suffering the most?…
You don’t need to search far to find someone to give to. Your house, online, your job, the street, the coffee shop, the gas attendant… anywhere there are people you can find someone who needs kindness… probably even more than one.
Our generosity shouldn’t be based solely on what we see… how could we possibly know what’s going on in someone’s heart?… or what inner struggle they’re going through?… or what emotional baggage they’re carrying?… or what pain is keeping them chained to the past?… or what debt they can’t get rid of?… or what secret they’re too afraid to admit?… or what shame they hid in the darkness?… or what demon they fight in silence?…
Who do we think we are that we could possibly judge who deserves to be shown kindness today when we have no idea what any one person will wind up going through tomorrow, next week, or one month from this moment? We have no idea how one fantastic example of kindness today could impact the future.
GIVING CAN CHANGE EVERYTHING
When we decide what we want should come before anything (or anyone) else, we will NEVER give as much as we REALLY could because our focus is take care of ourselves first. A selfish heart and a selfless CANNOT co-exist. And, when we give beyond our selfish desires, our giving is no longer about us, and when we remove our selfish motives… love can enter in.
- It takes time out… puts the phone down… shuts the TV off… and closes the laptop lid
- It buys a meal for someone else instead of getting another outfit
- It doesn’t give what it thinks is needed, but asks what it can do to help
- It saves in order to give
- It decides to live with less
- It chooses to put others first
- It gives to both the popular and unloved… the rich and poor… the happy and angry… the mean and kind… and even those who disagree with our beliefs.
What could happen if we decided to give like that? No judgement calls… no boundaries… no opinions… and no expectations… BUT then, after we gave… what if we chose to give more?… AND then, after we’d already given more… we did it again?… and again?… and again?
Generosity isn’t based on what we think someone deserves, and until our definition embraces that, WE are the ones missing out. Nothing will ever change this world and all its problems like love… and love gives.
Choose to spend less this year to give more money… more hope… more love. Show someone what you believe by how you live. There are so many ways to give something to someone. Here are some ideas to get you started…
- Go out with the intention of leaving your server a ridiculous tip… regardless of the service. (If you’re not sure about what “ridiculous” is… double what you would normally give… and then give more than that.)
- Give someone a gift card on the street as you pass by. Tell him/her to have a great day. ($10 coffee gift card, $50 grocery gift card, or $100 MasterCard/Visa gift card).
- Buy a warm meal for someone homeless on the street or holding a cardboard sign asking for help.
- Give someone a compliment.
- Ask someone how you can help them today, and then do whatever you can to really help.
- Give to a non-profit organization trying to make a difference.
- Give money to someone who has done you wrong.
- Tell someone the IMPACT they’ve made in your life. Giving a compliment is one of the nicest things to hear, and can empower someone to continue making a difference in the lives of others.