Giving — faith, hope, charity
Escape with Eddie
Getting taxes done always reminds me of how money is spent. We go along each day, buying our groceries, paying the mortgage, groaning about the cost of cellular phone service and passing out the kids' allowances. At the end of it all, there is usually not very much left in the coffers. Over the past couple of years, many people have begun to discover the importance of putting money away in their savings accounts. "Pay yourself first" is a good motto, especially, if you’re like Donald, Suze Orman is your financial guru. She is a proponent of having savings of at least enough money to cover eight months of bills. I think many people are beginning to do just that.
The flood of last year was an event that has made all of us take stock of our lives and our livelihood. Many of us, suffered devastating losses that cannot be recovered. In the aftermath of the disaster, a lot of folks became aware of just how important charitable organizations are to all of us. The Red Cross, The Salvation Army, our churches, the food shelf, the Sonshine Closet, Samaritan’s Purse — all of them gave to the community. The people were there, too. All the community members, young and old, who gave of themselves for the greater good can be considered charitable organizations.
You see, giving is not just of material goods, it is a gift of oneself. Giving and charity come from some deep well of human compassion, which is usually innate in each human being. We want to help our family, friends, and neighbors. When disaster strikes, people rush to assist.
Recently, I interviewed Cindy Carlson at the Mercy Foundation office. We talked at length of the many ways people can contribute to their community. I was interviewing her for an article I am writing about the Mercy Foundation (which will be coming soon) and discussed the many aspects of charitable giving. The old biblical quote, “It is better to give than to receive,” comes to mind. This is an adage we learned at Mama’s knee. The other part of this message, “Give and it will be given you,” refers to the many blessings that are received by giving. Sometimes, in the long haul, we are the recipients of giving, and then we need to learn how to receive. Both are part of the same coin.
If you are one of those taxpayers who does the long form, then you know charitable giving is a major area of tax deduction. The IRS, in all its wisdom, gives credit to those who donate.
Donations are also made of time and talent. Sometimes the talent is removal of damaged debris. I think of the 17 workers who carried the damaged sheetrock and water-logged material out of my basement after the flood. It was an incredibly hot and humid day, yet they worked like stevedores. Those wonderful people will have our eternal thanks for all their loving charity.
All of us have the capacity to be givers. Churches, charitable organizations and those who do not have the benefits we enjoy certainly need cash to be able to function. However, we also have those gifts and talents we can share. When a neighborhood mom is incapacitated for some reason, the family may need meals and housekeeping, and yes, even homemade chocolate chip cookies.
One last thing, a quote from my mother, sometimes “charity begins at home.” It is possible for us to be so involved in helping others, we don’t see the needs within our own families. So, take a good look, and then start to learn the lesson of giving.