We are all Beggars
"If there be any truer measure of a man than by what he does, it must be by what he gives."
There are times when I take stock of my life and I think about what I am willing to give. I do it to try and measure where I stand when it comes to different qualities. I think it is generally acceptable to think this way. I wonder if other people do the same thing in their lives. We review where we rate on various virtues to see where we can improve. If we do it with humility it can help us progress. If we let pride in then it might hinder our ability to develop.
The other day we were visiting an extremely poor neighborhood where the children are at high risk for sex trafficking and drug abuse for a variety of reasons including a lack of education. We were in the neighborhood trying to build relationships in order to help the children that live there have better educational opportunities. I started to think about whether I am giving what I can. I thought about the time we had spent in the neighborhood and the sacrifice my children were making to be in a foreign country away from their friends. I thought that my charity level was pretty good. Unfortunately, I even started to feel a little pride in the work we were doing.
Then I met Lucia. As we talked, I found out that her daughter had been badly burned a few weeks earlier with some boiling water and she didn't have money for medicine. I gave her some natural remedies to see if they would help and again my pride started to kick in. I felt pride because I was helping her. I felt pride because of the knowledge I had that could help her. Then something happened to help me see the flaws in my thinking. Lucia was eating a meager meal of Rice and Beans. It was probably the only food she had. She poured half of her food onto a plate and gave it to me to eat. I didn't want to partake because I knew she was hungry but it would have been insulting to not eat it.
While I was feeling pride about what I had done by giving a small part of what I had, Lucia gave me the last of her food, all that she had. Tears came to my eyes and I was humbled. I saw real charity in her. She was giving of all she had to someone that she knew had more than her because she is full of love. My hope is that we can all have a portion if the charity of Lucia. If we could all give of our time, and money, and love, to our fellow man like Lucia does, the world would be better.
Take stock of your lives and see where you need to improve, but if you find pride seeping into your heart like I did, think of Lucia. We are all beggars. We all owe our Heavenly Father more than we can ever give back. There will never be tally sheet that shows we have done more than we have received. Rather than keep score about what you have done, think about if you can do more.
Living a Good Story