If everything flows from God and everything returns to God, do you truly own anything? Are you not but a steward, taking care of that the portion of this world under your care, which is to be preserved and protected and possibly shared?
There are different forms of generosity. Most of us feel generous when we give something-money, time, advice. We know that our generosity is successful when we are seen, acknowledged, thanked, and praised for what we have done. This is the most obvious level of generosity. The truth of the matter is, in these cases, we give and we are repaid. These transactions are actually exchanges and contain the actual generosity.
A higher level of generosity is to give anonymously. The giver still benefits, but not as directly. Payment comes from knowing that we have been not only generous but also virtuous in not expecting gain recognition for our giving. However, the recipient will still feel gratitude, and inside ourselves, we assure ourselves, intuitively, that we gain merit.
There is still another level - "secret charity." This occurs when you give so that someone benefits from your actions, but unlike at the other two levels, that person does not feel given to, nor is there any burden of gratitude. How do you feel, for example, if you find a dollar bill on the sidewalk? You look around and pick it up with a smile on your face. You may feel blessed or at least lucky. You don't feel that someone "gave it to you" but that you found it. If, however, someone made a practice of laying bills on the ground now and then-then walking away and telling no one-he or she would be practicing a simple form of secret charity.
If you try something like this, you will soon feel the effects in your life. If you look for small, daily opportunities, they abound. My local library, for example, has a place where I can donate books so I can get a tax deduction. They also have a box so that books can be given anonymously. The choice is mine.
You can practice generosity with other than things. It is possible to give your time, your knowledge, your labor, and your skills. Having little money is no excuse for a lack of generosity.
At yet another level, if you give what is in your heart patience, insight, compassion you will find not only that your generosity arises from God, but that each act of giving also becomes an act of remembrance.
One take away one is equal to one
(A traditional teaching story)
Two brothers, one married and one single, farmed together and divided the grain from the harvest equally between them. The single brother often thought that his brother had extra worries and expenses because of his family so he would, from time to time, move some of the filled sacks from his storeroom into his brother's. His brother, on the other hand, often thought of how lonely his single brother must be. He thought, if my brother had a little more money he might buy himself some nicer things. So he would, without the other's knowledge, move some of his grain sacks into his brother's storeroom.
For many years the number of sacks remained equal between them, and neither brother could ever understand why this was so.
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