charity, generosity

Charity Done Because It’s the Right Thing to Do

“Such there be, who when they have done a good turn to any, are ready to set them on the score for it, and to require retaliation. Others there be, who though they stand not upon retaliation,to require any, yet they think with themselves nevertheless, that such a one is their debtor, and they know as their word is what they have done.

“Others again there be, who when they have done and such thing, do not so much as know what they have done; but are like unto the vine, which beareth her grapes, and when once she hath borne her own proper fruit, is content and seeks for no further recompense. As a horse after a race, or a hunting dog when he has hunted, and a bee when she has made her honey, look not for applause and commendations; so neither does that man that rightly doth understand his own nature when he has done a good turn.” ~Marcus Aurelius

False Charity

It somewhat amazes me that so many people don’t get that charity isn’t really charity if you expect to get something back for your good deed. Whether it be expecting the person you helped to reciprocate in some way, or expecting the charity you helped to give you publicity for doing so, It’s not charity, it’s making a purchase if you expect something in return. The same is true if you think that by doing someone a favor, they are now indebted to you.

True Charity

As Aurelius notes, true charity is when you give to others in such a way as to not even think of it as doing them a favor. Somebody needs help, you just help them. You don’t think “ I need to do my good deed for the day, so I will help him.” You don’t think, “I’m a good person, therefore I should help.” You do it without thinking about it at all. It is as automatic to you as breathing air. That is true charity. Few of us can claim to have reached that level. It is a difficult thing to do in such a materialistic world. Yet it is something that we should aim for as we grow our spiritual side. Continue reading “Charity Done Because It’s the Right Thing to Do”

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giving

Giving of the Best Kind

“No real or lasting good comes of any gift bestowed on another unless the heart goes with it, and its bestowal is to the giver an act of unalloyed pleasure. Because something else goes with the material gift, the food, the shelter, the loan, which though not seen, and little known, is more important than the form itself. That is the thought that goes with it, which thought strongly affects, for good or ill, the person who receives the gift.
“If, as giving within your means, you bestow the merest trifle in money upon a person in need, and the thought that goes with it is not only the most sincere desire to help that person, but you feel a keen sense of pleasure in giving any such help, then you throw upon that person a certain thought-element which will never leave them, and benefit them eternally and in proportion to the quality, power and force of your thought.
“But if you give grudgingly, if you give under any sort of compulsion, than your gift does relatively little good, no matter on whom bestowed.” ~Prentice Mulford

The Gift of Giving

I’m sure most of us have heard many times that it is better to give than to receive. We are told to share, to give without measure, etc. Rarely is the thought and feelings behind the giving mentions. Mr. Mulford is correct in saying that those thoughts and feelings are at least as important as the gift itself

Giving of Yourself

Real giving means giving of yourself. By that I mean that you are giving because you want to. You are giving because you genuinely want to help the other person or group. It is giving of yourself when you give what you yourself can use, but as a generous person, you share with others. That is why poor people are often the best givers. They may not give much, but they give of what they themselves need, and do so willingly and with love.

Giving Falsely

Wealthy individuals and corporations give large amounts of money which is certainly appreciated by the charities they give it to. But they often give for the wrong reasons. Some give merely to get a tax break. This is especially true of corporations. Others do it merely to look good in the eyes of the public or themselves.

A wealthy person who has robbed thousands of people through shady business deals may make himself feel better by donating a small percentage of that money to charity. A corporation that makes weapons of war may try to improve their public image by giving to a charity that feeds the hungry, or brings medicine to undeveloped regions.

While there is benefit to the recipients of this type of giving, it is limited. While it may be improved by the true goodness of the volunteers distributing it, it is still limited. Continue reading “Giving of the Best Kind”

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big heart, love wisdom, serve love, goodwill, heartbeat cycles, higher love Loving all

Loving All People is God’s Will for Us

“He who forsakes all worldly desires sets himself above all worldly distress. He who loves God will certainly love his neighbor as well. Such a person cannot hoard money, but distributes it in a way befitting God, being generous to everyone in need. …
“The state of love may be recognized in the giving of money, and still more in the giving of spiritual counsel. …
“ He who has genuinely renounced worldly things, and lovingly and sincerely serves his neighbor, is soon set free from every passion and made a partaker of God’s love and knowledge. …
“Just as the thought of fire does not warm the body, so faith without love does not actualize the light of spiritual knowledge in the soul.” ~The Philokalia

Loving All

If, like most Christians, you believe that God created man just as he is, then isn’t that good reason to love all men? Even if you are sometimes horrified by the things some do, you should still love the person. As Jesus put it, “forgive them for they no not what they do.”

On the other hand, If like the Gnostics you believe that God did not create the physical body of man, but only his soul, shouldn’t that still be true? In this case, you realize that the actions of the body and brain-mind cannot be blamed on God, but instead on the Demiurge and his minions. You can love the person, while being opposed to the actions.

Loving All Means Giving

There are people who will claim that they do love all. At the same time, they are greedy, selfish, and uncharitable. They will brag, of course, that they have donated a small percentage of their money to a charity they consider worth while, then kick a dieing homeless child into the gutter as they head into a restaurant for a $300 dinner.

Loving all means giving to others. But as the Philokalia says, what we give is as important as the act of giving. Is it good to give clothes to those who have none. It is good to give food to the hungry. But if you are truly loving all, what you will give more than anything else spiritual knowledge, spiritual truth. Continue reading “Loving All People is God’s Will for Us”

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