“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” Sir Winston Churchill is often credited with this quote. Yet, there is no evidence to substantiate or deny if he did or didn’t say this. However, what is more important is the era in which it was said. It was said some time between 1944 and 1945 during World War II, when Churchill served as Prime Minister of England.
During that time of turmoil and economic devastation, motivating people to give was of utmost importance. Not unsimilar to the economic impact and loss we are facing today.
Giving of our time, our resources and ourselves has become our rallying cry to lift the human condition from emotional destruction. But do we really know what giving means?
Is our voluntary giving really altruistic? As we head into the celebrations of Easter, Passover and Ramadan our reflections turn to what we were given as humanity…a death on a cross, the passing over by the death angel, and the celebration of giving and sharing.
Any one of these historical celebrations can teach us the practice of selfless giving for the well-being of others.
I’m a giver. And if you were to read any of the more than fifty some odd journals of gratitude I’ve kept over the last ten years, you’d see my heart for humanity reflected in each one.
Being a giver by nature means I’m often the first to volunteer. The first to chip in to the collection plate. The one to go without the salary as an entrepreneur so that my staff were paid in our early days. The first to say, “I’ll stay with the kids, go on out and enjoy yourselves.” Even though I’m running on empty. One of the ones to stay late at the office when a project has a deadline.
Yet, to me those things aren’t just giving. Those things are love. Those are the things I would do without a second thought. Giving should never be about big demonstrative actions.
There have been many books written about alturistic giving. One of my favorites has a reference about giving that comes from the Book of Matthew, Chapter 6:3 which says, “But when you demonstrate generosity, do it with pure motives and without drawing attention to yourself.”
Does this mean you shouldn’t give to the charities of your choice? Of course not. During these times of emotional stress, many organizations like NAMI, assisting those with behavioral health needs, or homeless shelters can absolutely use our financial donations. As a matter of fact, my two favorite charitable causes are St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, which I give to on an ongoing basis, and my local foodbank. During these times I cannot imagine a child ill or hungry.
The giving and generosity duirng our current crisis can be seen in the number of volunteers who are sewing mask for front-line workers. We see major corporations like Burger King, donating dinner to local hospitals and so many other corporations doing their part.
Yet, the giving I’m talking about doesn’t cost you or me anything…except ourselves. It’s the smile and thank you behind masked faces, for those at the grocery store that keep on working during this crisis. It’s the giving of the last box of Minute Rice on the shelf…to the young mother who had 3 little kids in her cart (I settled for the long cooking kind so I could dust off my culinary skills), while she was insisting it was alright if I take it.
“No,” I relpied. “I am okay”
I love visiting with Veterans, and in my previous and current role I had ongoing opportunities to talk with those who put their lives on the line for all of us. The one thing they all enjoyed hearing was a genuine, “thank you for your service.” Acknowleging sacrifice was the gift of a lifetime.
So tomorow when you are out and about and you run into one of those mission-critical, essential employees thank them for their service. Acknowledge sacrifice. Or better yet, why not donate a gift in their name or affliation to the charity of their choice.
We can always show through our giving that there is only one kind of love…and a thousand imitations. As Christ said, “Give, and it shall be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Give love…Get love.
“And That’s A Brilliant Glimpse of Insight!”™