By Mark Andrew Beach
The first concept in developing a giving heart is to give without expecting something in return. If we give with such expectations, whether it be something material or even recognition, it is not giving, it is a business transaction.
Now, there is nothing wrong with a fair business transaction. As a finance guy and a deal maker, I appreciate business as much as the next person. In fact, I consider it a matter of the highest personal integrity to pursue only win-win deals, or no deal. However, this blog post is about having a giving heart, not about equanimity. If we are giving a part of ourselves, our lives, or better yet personally sacrificing something for someone else, that really demonstrates a giving heart. Let’s consider two examples:
The first example is based on an advertisement I saw years ago in the movie theaters and on TV. I think, if I am not mistaken, it was one of the first ads ever produced by a charitable group called The Foundation for a Better Life. In this short lesson, a father teaches his son something more valuable than the cost of a basket of apples. He shows by his example what caring is all about. What it means to have a giving heart. I remember the first time I saw this spot. I wanted to be just like that Dad, even when it would cost me to do so. Especially, when it cost me to do so. I wanted my children to know that is how I chose to live my life.
The second example I take from the teachings of Jesus Christ. We refer to this event as the story of the widows mite found in Mark 12:41-44. Here is Jesus sitting by the treasury watching all these people put money into the treasury(making donations to the temple). He can see all the rich people putting in lot’s of money. There are two things we can derive from his observations:
1) These people want to be seen by everyone else as they are generous (in their own minds) with their giving;
2) These rich people obviously have a lot of money back home they can use for other purposes.
Now notice that Christ does not condemn these people for their giving. Society needs and benefits from these people and their generosity. The point Jesus is trying to make by singling out the widow is that she had the true giving heart. Why? Because she gave all she had. For her giving was a real personal sacrifice. In so giving, she was demonstrating her love for God and her total dependence on Him for her well-being. She had a giving heart.
There are many more examples we could highlight here, but I think my point has been sufficiently made in the Aristotelian way.