A little over a half a century later, I have learned a valuable lesson in giving! Better late than never though, that’s for sure!
If you’re anything like me, you’re a giver! Not only a giver, but also non-selected, as the one to receive, for all the giving you have done. That is, you give, give, and give, sometimes to the point of self-sacrificing, placing yourself last and the interests of others before your own. Only to find out, down the road of life, that not everyone, that you gave to, is going to return the favor, for all your giving.
Friends, at times, you’re only as good… as the moment! But, even then, you are good, for giving!
Sometimes we spoil people with our giving, so much so, that we turn them into selfish creatures. Our perpetual giving grows them up to believe that they are forever entitled to receive, receive, and receive, and not have to give anything back to the giver. Oftentimes, parents see this one-sided treaty, in their children. They spent their entire parenting time ensuring that their child’s life runs smoothly, only to discover later on that whom they created is but a selfish offspring! As goes the old saying: “One mother can take care of seven children, but seven children can’t take care of one mother,” so it turns out true, not only in parent/child relationships, but as well across the entire spectrum of giving.
Our “giving” can oftentimes be so over-the-top, in other relationships, that we enable the recipients to never do anything for his or herself, and when that “giving” comes to an end, it renders the recipient as like a fish out of water without any clue as to how to survive in the world without the support of the constant giver.
Something needs to-be said, about all of this giving and receiving!
Why are we givers? What’s in it for us, when we give: joy or expectation? And, when you can’t give anymore, how are you feeling when suddenly you aren’t the recipient of all the giving that you gave?
All of my giving has put my perspectives in check! It has rendered me to realize two results: Give, without ceasing, because that is the heart of who you are! But rely solely on God to reciprocate all of your giving!
As parents, it is our obligation to see to the care of our offspring, especially when they are minors [under the law] and can’t do for themselves. As “good” parents, it is somewhat our moral duty to continue helping our children when they’ve become adults. As states God’s Word: “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (1 Tim 5:8)
What a fine line this carries, with all the giving, though! We can either give, and grow bitter when not selected as the recipient, for all the giving, or we can give, and be confident that God is the Rewarder of good deeds. In all cases of giving, that I have personally experienced, I found out this truth:
One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. ~Proverbs 18:24
We come to ruination when we assume that every recipient, of our giving, is going to be a reliable friend and return the favor, for all the receiving they got from our good giving. More to the point, when giving, we come to ruination when we deal in expectations!
Let go of all expectations, when giving; for even our own beloved children may suddenly pitch fits or do a disappearing act, when the tide has turned and you now need their help. Indeed, though, take heart and never cease giving, for there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother, and that friend is God, when you realize it.
God is able to make all grace [every favor and earthly blessing] come in abundance to you, so that you may always [under all circumstances, regardless of the need] have complete sufficiency in everything [being completely self-sufficient in Him], and have an abundance for every good work and act of charity. ~2 Cor. 9:8
Conversely, think on this: Just because the recipients, of our giving, do not reciprocate the favors, does not mean that he and she isn’t being a giver, elsewhere. They may not be giving good things to you, or lending you a hand when you need one, but they are “givers” wherever else they go. They help the elderly with their grocery bags, or open doors for others, or catch a rolling ball and throws it back to the kids playing. They give their coat to someone freezing, and donate money to many causes, and feed a hungry dog or a cat, a piece of their sandwich. They shovel snow for strangers, without being asked to, and volunteer at Soup Kitchens or such places as that.
The point here is that all of us, in one way or another, are givers, and all of us, from one place or another, are recipients, of the giving of many. Giving, is universal, at best, a, no-strings-attached, situation with intent to teach us a lesson in giving. We give, whether conscious of it or not noticing it. If we only flash a smile at someone, we “gave” something that day.
So, when it seems or feels like… that no one is here for you, shift your attention away from that shortage, and away from anyone to whom you gave much; don’t look there anymore! Look instead to God, and say with the Psalmist: I lift up my eyes to the mountains— from where my help does come!
Make no mistake: there may come a day when you encounter the big realization, about all your giving and not receiving same. Let it not find you despairing or even regretting; it is just a lesson in giving!