What Do We Give vs How Do We Live

15925ae063837e05826a9428fc203793It doesn’t take a genius to understand that when you want something you have to do something to get it (or at least that’s how it normally goes). Whether that be saving up money for a vacation trip, or buying food to fill our hunger, we have to act upon something in order to solve the problem that lies before us.

We are constantly making decisions throughout each day to solve each problem as it arises and we spend so much time trying to make our lives better. However, what we seem to miss out on the most is how to truly make our lives better.

Every day I wake up, I shower and brush my teeth, I put on some fresh clothes, and I get in my car to head to the office. Sounds like a pretty typical morning. And it is for the vast majority of working middle-class Americans. We all make the decision to go to work to make money (some of us do really enjoy our jobs, but given the choice to retire early and go travel the world or something, I think most of us would take it), and then take that money we’ve earned and do the things we really want to do. Spending time with family, going on trips, buying food that we love (or possibly hate but are trying to be healthy), and buying things that give us that feel-good-high.

But, it never seems like enough does it? We are constantly trying to fill our lives with things that we think will make it better, yet our lives don’t always seem… better. It’s frustrating and we get so caught up in the wounds of our past and the things that we haven’t done yet. However, I saw a video recently that made me ponder about what my actions are verses what my giving is. Watch below:

As I watched the video progress, I felt a sense of guilt and a bit of hope. Honestly, I’ve never had anyone come up to me at a food court to ask if I had any extra food. I don’t know how I would’ve responded before but now I feel fairly certain my response will be much different.

In our world today, so many of us have become numb to the hunger and homelessness that is still problematic. Though they say we’ve cut down 50% of the homeless population around the world, that other 50% still needs to be taken care of.  We need to cut it down to 100%, rather than being content with 50%. But we justify not giving because, “I only have card, no cash.” Why don’t we go buy them something with our card then? “I’m sorry I don’t have any food to give.” But, we aren’t going to miss another meal today, would it hurt us to share, really? “What if they use it for booze/drugs/etc.” Is that really a concern of ours? What makes good stewardship? Is it giving and wanting to know how our money is spent?

And that’s where it becomes a real problem.

We are so possessive of our things. We should stop holding on to things so tightly so that we can hold on to each other instead. We only get one life to live and we spend most of our time buying or wanting items, rather than just spending time with those we love. Why don’t we give more? (And I’m looking at myself here too, cause this is a tough subject.)

I honestly don’t have an answer to this problem. I don’t have the *if we all do this we can be better people and solve the issue* answer.  But I do think we need to keep working towards helping our fellow humans. We need to stop focusing on the material and start focusing on the relational.

I recently wrote a post about avoiding the attempt to change someone and rather focus on the relationship with the person. I was speaking in that post about religious differences. However, I think that still applies here in this case. We need to worry less about changing someone and focus on building relationships. What would it mean for us to befriend the homeless population? I would like to imagine that ending hunger and homelessness is just one step beyond befriending those in need.

I think this is also the difference between how we live versus how we give. What we give should be relational, which would improve how we live. If we focus on how we live, we forget to be relational in how we give. Rather, our giving becomes focused on a fixed amount just to make us feel better about ourselves. This isn’t going to take us far.

If we can learn to give more of ourselves, if we can learn to be more relational, then the way we live our lives can take on a whole new meaning that could take us further than we ever thought we would go.

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