Thursday, August 11, 2022


I do believe that those of us who have prospered should
view our good fortune not as an indication of personal
merit or entitlement, but as an obligation to recognize
the needs of others.
Elizabeth Deutsch Earle

As most of you know, I like to collect quotes and other bits of wisdom to reflect on at a later time. The above quote came from a book I was reading one night. The sentiments are not new to me because Jesus had said as much when he said, "For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required." However, she seemed to say it again in a fresh new way.

Even growing up, I remember being influenced by two particular people. They lived at different ends of the spectrum when it came to the "goods" of this world. One was determined to amass as much as he could for his own welfare. The other, was always sharing what she had with others, even when she had little to give. The first one was focused on "saving." The second one was focused on "sharing."  The first one was self-focused. The second one was other-focused. I knew, even then at that young age, that I was being inspired to "be like" the second one rather than the first one.  

Even though I was inspired to be a "giver," rather than a "hoarder," I had to learn how to be a giver. I had to learn that the desire to "give" comes from the certain knowledge that one has been blessed beyond what one has earned. I also had to learn to be the kind of giver that leads to helping others in an effective way, rather than the kind of giver who seeks to merely relieve one's own guilt. 

Wanting to really help others means that you have to be able to give in a smart and effective way - and that takes valuable time and serious effort. Giving in a simplistic and naive way often has at its source a personal need for instant gratification and the alleviation of guilt.  In a real way, that kind of simplistic and naive giving amounts to giving to oneself! 

For the one who knows no limits to giving, even with the best motives and purest intentions, there is the danger of burn-out, often called "compassion fatigue."  Even a heroic giver needs to pace himself or herself, take some time out and get some rest because true giving can be exhausting! 

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