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Published:November 25th, 2010 09:56 EST
Are You Giving Unselfishly?

Are You Giving Unselfishly?

By Ignatius Fernandez

   If you give because it pays, it won`t pay you. R. G. LeTourneau.

A poor family of six, parents and four children, were eagerly awaiting the arrival of a popular Circus Troupe in town. To give his family a treat the man saved coins over weeks to have enough for the tickets. After much waiting and great expectations they queued at the ticket counter.
As it opened and the ticket prices were put up the man was aghast - after all that saving he was still short of cash for six tickets; even for the lowest class. He told his wife that he and she could wait outside the circus tent as the children watched the show. But the children would have none of it - they all went in or no one went in. Suddenly their spirits matched their faded clothes and footwear which was giving way in places. They decided to walk away from the queue.
A man standing behind them in the queue heard their conversation. Without a word he dropped some money at the foot of the father, who was preparing to leave, and walked into the crowd - a nameless benefactor. The father saw the money, saw the man drop it at his feet, but had no chance to thank the giver. Excitedly they watched the show, but the man`s heart went back again and again to the generous giver who would not wait to be thanked.

Many of us give, but want it to be a photo opportunity; a chance for a press report; an occasion when others praise us for our generosity; a way of claiming a tax benefit. We expect some form of recompense. Jesus was decisive when he said: But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Matt. 6:3. He continued that charity is rewarded by God, not man. Therefore, trumpets are not necessary. In the story we just read the man who dropped the money at the father`s feet did not want even the rest of the family to know that someone else was paying for their tickets. He did not want the head of the family to lose face.

It is time we examined our motives when we give. It is time we taught our children to give without expecting thanks and praise. To know that the act of giving in itself is the reward. It also applies to non-money acts of kindness.