The heart of giving (and receiving)

Chaplain’s Corner

Padre Zibby Jonczyk

The heart of giving is a giving heart. Sounds like a play on words from a wisdom spokesperson doesn’t it? All religions and spiritualities have simple or detailed instructions for their adherents to follow when it comes to giving. I think that my favourite is, “God loves a cheerful giver.” It reminds me to be open-handed in my giving, and not to attach strings to the gift.

To be cheerful in giving allows for an expansiveness of heart. It gives us a chance to flex our empathy muscle. To see ourselves as “gifted” or “blessed” by this life and remember that if it weren’t for either extraordinary good luck, or if you will – the graciousness of God, we could be in a world of hurt.

When I refer to God’s involvement, I am not implying that those who are fortunate have done anything spiritually better than the rest of us to deserve their comfortable state. Nor for those hurting have done anything spiritually worse than the rest of us. It just is, what it is. Better not to make judgements, and simply accept that in both cases things turned out differently for them than it did for you or me.

What I’m saying is, that there are people who find themselves in need – and they know how they got there, and others, who no matter how hard they tried couldn’t avoid their current circumstances. I’m not even going to suggest that people in need are happier or not. I’ve seen more generous sharing among those who have (or have had) little to give, than I have from other who could have…

So, we’ve explored the existential, touched on reality, and still we have the poor among us. Poor in money, poor in heart, poor in spirit, – what to do?
Perhaps we could envision ourselves, no matter what the economic state that we’re in, as gifted. People have something of themselves that they can share, and it doesn’t have to be tangible.

During one of our chaplain courses, a group of padres were asked by a wonderful Rabbi, “What is the Question that your life is the Answer to?” One padre answered: “I feel deep joy in that through all the brokenness, pain, bad choices, sin, and plain stupidity of my life’s journey – my life is the answer to the question, ‘Is there hope?’ Yes. God can even turn the wreckage of my mistakes into something of a lesson about God’s faithfulness to us. God never gave up on me. I don’t want to give up on others.”

Please help others by sharing You, in any way you can. The world is waiting for the brilliance of your being. There is no person in this world who can replace you. Thank you in advance for your trust and love. Because that is what is at the heart of giving. (and receiving)