When reading the newspaper recently, I was reminded why I rarely read my horoscope. The advice provided, “Don’t feel obligated to help someone out who has nothing to offer in return.” Perhaps, the star gazer doubling as an advice columnist got the first part right. We should never feel obligated to give. Giving is personal, and hopefully connects with one’s purpose, cause and values. And, as the apostle Paul wrote in his second letter to the Corinthians, “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity.”
But, it is the second part of the horoscope that proffers ill-advice. Imagine what our community would look like if people gave only to those who could give something in return. How about the homeless or poor who benefit from the local food pantries? How can they repay us? Or, the elderly neighbor who needs help with buying groceries? Why then is the word, “neighborly” in the dictionary?
Thankfully, there are non-profit organizations that help people with all sorts of physical, emotional, spiritual and mental health needs. Surely, the leaders, workers and the ones helped by such organizations appreciate selfless givers who offer their time, talent and treasure with no expectation or even a thought of return.
At this sacred time of the year, we look within ourselves, and then willingly and cheerfully reach out to others. Enjoy this time for giving.