Our Need To Give

index“Tis the season of giving” December tells us as though giving has a beginning and an end.  We even add a little cute word at the beginning giving us a festive feeling.
We need to give.  That’s the beginning and end of it.  We need to give.  We need to use the most powerful tool we possess which, in our case is money.
The “whom” of our benevolence is our choice –  homeless shelters, food pantries, whales, turtles (yes, there’s a turtle fund), refugees and how many organizations who want your money, name, keep your name and may even sell it to another organization.
Our mistake is that we emphasize the receiver instead of the giver as though we’re police, attorney and jury.  The point is that we need to give.  We need to give to prove that we have something of value to share.  If the recipient abuses our gift, it truly doesn’t matter because we shared a piece of our value with someone or something – other than ourselves.  “I want to know where my donation goes,” says the caller to the potential receiver.  Just hang up the phone because potential donor isn’t donating but attempting to justify a donation against just keeping it.  It’s safe but it’s never “giving.”

Giving needs to be free.  Giving begins in our hearts and is dollar by dollar licked away from our hand.  The monetary needs around us and our world abound beyond imagination including that lonely, shabby guy at the stop sign with the cardboard sign that says, “Will work.”  (Is “Will” really his name?” I wonder.)

I’m always amused by the beggar who asks me for “extra change.”  Who has extra change?  There’s nothing extra, it’s all here with me.  He needs a marketing director with a new “come on” line.

We need to give to connect us.  Our connections are fewer and fewer in spite of social media.  We sit alone keeping careful count of our pennies like a Dicken’s creation.

I like to give – any amount.  The police’s telephone call scares me because of a future call I may need to make to the police and they respond, “We see hear that you didn’t…” and the disabled veterans call is just weird to me since I stare at “Support Our Troops” bumper stickers daily at stop signs.  Where’s the government?  But don’t get me wrong, we need to give.

I’ve just fallen into the trap.  I’ve weighed and measured and found wanting others when I should be weighing, measuring and wanting within myself.  It’s not the recipient, it’s my need to give.

If I give a waitress a $3.00 tip then I can give her a $4.00 tip.

It’s not “Tis the ’season,” it’s “Tis me.”

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About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). www.Salvatorians.com. He is associate pastor of partnering parishes, Christ King and St. Bernard parishes in Wauwatosa, WI.
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