The opportunity for growth is there, where we learn how to give. –Harold Klemp, The Language of Soul
Our ultimate purpose in life, as Soul, is to be co-workers with God. The way we do this, in general, is to pass God’s love on to the rest of the world, whether it is other people, to animals, or to the environment. It has been said that we cannot receive from God any more than we can actually give. If that’s true, it makes a lot of sense to me. That must be why the various religions teach their followers that they must learn to give of themselves.
It may be that when people pray for a miracle or for help from God, they don’t always get it because they are not yet capable of giving that amount of love out to the world. What if that’s true? The next time you ask for help from God, for a big dollop of God’s love, consider for a moment how you can give that love out to the world. Giving doesn’t always have to be about money, and the gift doesn’t have to be to any particular church organization, directly. When we give of ourselves to other people and to the natural environment, we are following our highest calling. We are passing along God’s love.
Besides money, we can give of our time and our talents. We can spend time doing things that will improve people’s lives or protect the environment. We can offer to do physically demanding chores for older folks. We can spend time with people who are sick or lonely. We can give a ride to someone who can’t drive. We can do some shopping for someone, or offer a home-cooked meal. We can volunteer at a shelter, a food shelf, or a soup kitchen. We can work with groups such as Habitat for Humanity or Adopt-a-Highway. We can also work on an individual level: a kind word, a smile, a hug, a thank-you all work wonders in other people’s lives. Learning a new way to recycle or just being willing to take a trash bag outdoors and pick up trash are helpful, too. It all adds up.
However we give of ourselves, the key is to give without expectation of acknowledgement, reward, or return. That’s where the rubber meets the road. Most of us can manage to give of ourselves for at least a short time without acknowledgment, but eventually we get tired of not being acknowledged. Pretty soon we begin to complain about “those ungrateful people.” It takes a little effort, at first, to give and give, just for love.
As the quote says, we can grow when we learn to give. We grow because giving stretches us and gives us the impetus to do more and be more. Giving provides us an opportunity to learn patience, non-judgment, humility, detachment, and creativity. We learn patience as we wait for people to learn something new or begin to take advantage of the help they receive. We learn non-judgment as we serve people whose unfortunate choices have landed them in trouble, because we know we have been in that same place, at some point. We learn humility when the credit for something good goes to someone else because we served far in the background. We learn detachment when we can empathize with someone’s anger, grief, worry, or guilt – we can see how they came to feel that way – but we don’t get caught up in their emotional drama. We learn creativity as we learn new ways to solve problems.
When we give of ourselves on a regular basis, we are in a perpetual state of growth, and that is the only state in which we an give help to others. 🙂