Charity without sacrifice?
A few occurrences crossed my world recently that caused me to ponder whether or not my service to others is sufficient or worthy if there is no real sacrifice put into the actual act.
Since I moved south I certainly am a much freer person. I don’t have an 8-10 hour work day pulling me in all kinds of directions. I started doing some volunteer work at a local homeless shelter, help with providing meals to school aged kids and a few other things, all of which are great. But does my contribution really “count” since I have time to do these things? Am I really making a sacrifice?
Getting back to the triggers of this post. My daughter had long hair until yesterday. She decided to cut it off, chin length, and donate to a worthy organization. Should she be admired because she did this or was she going to cut her hair anyway? Maybe she needed a change? Is her decision to donate her hair really “worth” recognition?
We have a Compassion child that we sponsor and support monthly. We’ve been doing this for decades. We contribute, write a letter a few times per year and try to remember him in prayer. I don’t feel like I’m making a sacrifice, so is it considered a worthy cause?
Last night at our neighborhood book club we discussed the book, The Hate U Give. It’s a story about a 16 year old girl that witnessed a police shooting of her childhood friend. It was during this discussion that I found out that there was a shooting in front of my house approximately 4 years ago before we lived here. A young man on a motorbike of some sort was being chased by a rival gang and happened to cut through our neighborhood. The one on the back of the bike was shot and killed. A neighbor was there on the scene and saw this horrific attack. I bring this up because a few women in the neighborhood provided meals for this victims family and purchased a new suit for his funeral. Others questioned how this act had the potential of causing harm to the families in the neighborhood. Should we not help someone in need for fear of reprisal?
When I put these 3 examples together, I come to the conclusion that we don’t have to actually sweat and feel physical pain in order for our acts of kindness or charitable given to be worthy. If ones motive to cut your hair is strictly for a new look, why would you donate it to Locks of Love?My daughter actually waited until her hair was a certain length before she cut it. She deliberately planned on cutting her hair for the purpose of donating it but because she benefited with a new hairstyle does that somehow lessen or diminish her sacrifice? I think not.
We support our young boy in Indonesia. Is his life better because of it, I hope so. Am I boarding a plane to visit him, no (but hopefully one day I can do something like that) but because of our support he is provided with certain things that others may not be afforded.
The local ladies felt compassion for this young man without knowing his life story. They did not judge him but supported him in a way that showed that his life mattered. They knew he was involved in a gang but that was irrelevant. Someone was shot and murdered in our neighborhood and they did what they could to help the family of the victim. Could their act of kindness have had a negative impact, I suppose so, but they were dictated by their heart and it told them to reach out and support this family.
I think what matters is to do something. Sometimes it may require huge sacrifice and that’s admirable. But other times it may be responding to what your heart is telling you to do. It may be putting Compassion International on autopay each month. It may be growing your hair to donate for a wig that will end up lighting up a child’s face whose hair fell out due to chemotherapy. Maybe it’s providing a casserole to someone that just lost a loved one.The reminder for me is to do something. Each day we can do something. It doesn’t have to be earth-shattering but what we do does impact people in ways we may never know. So even if the act of kindness doesn’t break your back, it doesn’t mean it has little value or little meaning. It’s always worthwhile to give, even if it’s something small and even if in some way you benefit.
Do you agree? Wondering what you think.