Community Giving & Generosity

Reflections: Does it hurt to give?

Does it hurt to give?

I left home to study in a seminary in Pune in 1992, leaving a successful IT career behind. Compelled to serve God, I decided to never ask anyone for money to provide for my personal needs, but to depend on Him. Every penny mattered to me and all I had was Rs 700. I hadn’t even booked my ticket to Pune yet.

Not sure how I would survive after this money was exhausted I went to visit a friend who was studying Social Work and lived in a hostel. She handed over an envelope and said that this was money for me to book my ticket. I was shocked because she didn’t even know that I needed money. I was amazed at God’s provision, but what amazed me even more was the way she had saved that money. She had fasted for 40 days and given me the money she had saved by giving up lunch. I was so deeply moved because it truly hurt her to help me. It is often easy to give from our abundance but this girl who came from a very humble background and was herself living a very frugal lifestyle found a way to help me within her means.

To quote an example from the Bible, Jesus, while observing people who were putting money into the treasury of the temple, interestingly, observed a widow who put just two coins and commented that she gave the maximum, though she gave the least. She gave everything she had while the rest gave from their abundance. It hurt for her to give while for others it was not a big deal. I think the way God looks at our giving is different from the way people understand giving. God does not look at the amount, but God looks at the heart.

One of the reasons people do not give generously is a lack of love and concern for one another. We tend to be selfish and consumed with our own needs, future etc. Giving generously is possible only when we learn to trust God for our needs. I’m not advocating giving away all that you have but today we seem to be accumulating more and more thinking of our generations and power and prestige while losing out on caring for our fellow human beings. Again quoting Jesus – “Do not store up treasures for yourselves on earth, where moth and rust destroy, but instead store up for yourselves treasures in heaven where moth and dust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”. Giving is indeed a matter of your heart. If your heart is set on earthly gains and riches, you will be saving up every penny for something that is very temporal, but if your heart is rich by your good deeds then you will learn to be generous.

Having taught much about giving, the best thing that Jesus did was to give Himself completely without holding back anything on the Cross to show His real generosity by His love. He indeed gave till it hurt Him the most. If we model ourselves after Him, we can give more generously, not only our money, but also our life.

Leave a Comment