giving to others
It's not what you may think.
My mom is a pastor of a church. We had a discussion once: why do I need to send church tithes, 10 percent of my monthly pay...monthly. How about if I write one check at the end of the year. Her response was as simple and wise as our mothers' can be: "Because you won't."
Of course, you stand to benefit when you give. Imagine how different your day, or your life, would be, if you took five minutes out of every day to help someone else.
Last week a few HuffPost editors and I were treated to a visit by Bill Drayton and Mary Gordon. Bill Drayton is the founder of Ashoka and a longtime champion of social entrepreneurship, a term that he coined and that has now spread across the world. Mary Gordon is a former kindergarten teacher who founded Roots of Empathy, an organization dedicated to teaching emotional literacy and promoting empathy in children. As Mary told us, empathy is a two-way street and is best nurtured by example. Philosophers have known this for centuries. "No one can live happily who has regard for himself alone and transforms everything into a question of his own utility," wrote the first-century Stoic philosopher Seneca. And in practically every religious tradition and practice, giving of oneself is a key step on the path to spiritual fulfillment.
When I meet new people in social settings, the conversational question of, "What do you do for a living?" often leads people to ask me the follow-up question, "So are you analyzing me?" While it's said in a fun, playful manner, I think it speaks to a deeper question that all of us face.
The greatest strength that we possess does not come from money, from fame, from influence, from glory, or from any of the trappings of power that most of us spend vast amounts of time and energy pursuing.
Filled with gratitude, God's humor was not lost on me. My specific request had more than been filled.
I no longer believe it's more blessed to give than to receive, nor more blessed to receive than to give. It is a selfish heart that refuses either giving or receiving, for to withhold one is to block the other.