Giving Is Harder Than It Looks

We go about our days and live our lives.  We periodically give money to people who are holding signs at the street corners if we feel compelled to.  We donate to charities that we feel fit our giving profile.  We give to church groups and try to be a part of the charitable community.  So all of these ways of giving are fairly passive.  Someone comes to us in a parking lot and we give them our change.  We send money in the church offering basket and give to charity over the internet.  I have never given much thought about what it feels like to personally give.  So let me tell you a story.

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There is a homeless looking man who wanders our neighbor hood, and we feel a bit of an affinity towards him.  We have named him Mark, and that is what we call him between ourselves.  He never asks for anything, and he has pretty wild hair and ragged clothes.  I want to give him things because he looks like he needs them, but he does not ask for anything.  I usually see him while I am driving, and the timing is not right.  I have given him money spur of the moment before, which was not hard.  The hard part is when I plan to give personally, and then I have to work to find people to give to.

One day my kids and I were at starbucks, and I had just purchased some gift cards to give to some friends.  We were sitting enjoying some breakfast, and Mark came in, went to the counter and then sat at a far back table.  I looked at my daughter and said I want to give Mark a gift card.  I then sat there for 10 minutes or so trying to get up the courage to walk up to him and give him one of the cards.  I thought about giving the card to my daughter and having her give it to him, but thought that would be a cop out.  This was something I wanted to do.  Before this, I had not realized how difficult it would be.  I decided that this was something that I needed to do more of, and I have continued to find it difficult.  We went that day and bought a bunch of gift cards to fast food places and then we searched for people that we wanted to give them to.  It was hard.  You are probably thinking I am crazy for thinking that it was hard, but don’t question it until you try it.  I would never have thought that it was hard until I consciously decided that this was something that I wanted to do.  Spur of the moment is much easier, but planning and giving consciously is much more difficult.

I challenge you do give it a try.

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