Thoughts on Giving

By Melodious Monk

This past week, I started reading Heather King’s book on St. Therese of Lisieux. I find it engaging to read, as I can relate to much of the thoughts and conversations in the writing. In the chapter subtitled, ‘on learning to serve’, I was reading along fascinated by some of the psychological insights quoted from various authors, when one simple sentence about Jesus jarred my reading to a halt. Ms King writes, “In fact, fully living his own life, and giving with no expectation of return, was the way Christ conducted all his relationships.”

I can’t even fathom this type of living. It’s easy to know Christ loves all, and all equally, but this depiction of him practically living out this love as a human, seems almost impossible. It grieves me to realize how much I’m always wanting something back from others.

Even on my best, most-giving days, somewhere inside I’m keeping track, keeping a record of what I’m doing as if I’m saving up points or tickets at an amusement park, hoping for a better prize.  Perhaps letting go of this unnecessary record is part of how Christ intended for our yokes to be easy and our burdens to be light. I put so much unnecessary thought and emotional baggage into relationships. To give, expecting a certain return, is a way of self-protection–but rather than providing safety, it puts a limit on our creative potential. Jesus taught that the measure you give is the measure you will receive. If we give without wanting back, we open ourselves to the possibility of receiving many times more then we ever could hope for.

The Community of Jesus

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