Giving is one of the most satisfying acts of selflessness I have ever experienced. Maybe it’s just me but have you ever stopped to think about how you feel after dropping a few coins, or even better, a note into a beggar’s cup? There’s this sense of levitation in your gait that comes from feeling ‘I’m a good person full of good deeds. I can change the world if I put my heart into it’….no? Well sometimes I feel like that, and it’s basically because giving feels good.
I have learned over the years however that it is easier to give in kind and cash than to give your time and comfort. What do I mean? Okay, tell me, would you not prefer to give 50 shillings to a street beggar in town as you quickly walk past to catch a bus home than to have to leave your bed at 2am on a cold rainy night to, perhaps, go and help your neighbor patch his leaking tin roof?… Yeah, I know me too.’
Yesterday, a desperate woman walked into our office with her three hungry toddlers. She needed urgent help in trying to trace her irresponsible husband who had kicked them out of their house more than three days ago. They had gone without food and proper shelter for three nights; really heartbreaking. As soon as I heard her harrowing ordeal and looked in the faces of those children my heart was ready leap into (giving) action. I prepared some tea and sent a colleague for some maandazi; this family needed to eat something. It was easy, I mean, it only set my pocket back a few ten shilling coins. But then came the real challenge, two of the three tots were really jumpy. No I don’t think you understand, I mean, while one was busy punching buttons at the printer while dragging plastic chairs and jumping up and down, her notorious sibling was dashing from one corner of the office to the other touching EVERYTHING, pulling, shoving, tugging, ripping…THE WORKS!! As if that was not enough, the other child who was still straddled on his mother’s back could not believe he was missing out on all the fun his siblings were reveling in and he kept screaming to be let down. Do the math, my ‘patience-ometer’ was breaking at the wand. It was even more irking that their mother just sat there issuing subtle warnings like ‘mama wacha please’, ‘baba tulia, baaaaas’, the most threatening of course was ‘aki nitakuchapa’.
Needless to say, I wanted to help her scold them, only a little more harshly, like Hitler or something, you know, dangle each of the rascals upside-down from the ceiling with a rope tied on one leg. ‘Roni!!’ I could hear mySelf shouting at me; ‘be nice, you’re supposed to be helping!!’. Yeah, I realized how hard it is to exercise the fruit of the spirit. LOVE, joy, peace, PATIENCE, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, GENTLENESS and SELF-CONTROL.
Well, I have learnt that giving is far beyond fishing coins out your pocket and packing away your old clothes to donate to the salvation army; that’s the easy part. It is harder to give things you can’t buy.
Help me Lord, I need grace.
2 Corinthians 9:6-8 English Standard Version (ESV)
The Cheerful Giver: The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifullywill also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.