Imagine one day that you don’t have much. That you are destitute. That you are almost living on the streets and are relying on the charity of others.
Now imagine that one day you are sleeping on the street and on a rainy evening, you wake up and of the many party goers walking past you one stops and asks if you are hungry. Of course you will respond with a Yes. You are hungry. You last found something to eat in a bin yesterday afternoon.
So this smartly dressed individual bends down to your level and hands you a half eaten sandwich, “I couldn’t eat it.”
And you look at the sandwich and think, “Ok, well it’s food.”, and you bite into it feeling the taste and texture in your mouth. It may be half eaten, but it sates your hunger well.
Now my question is, how many of give charity like this? I don’t mean the half eaten sandwich literally. But it was a rejected item of food that this person gave away as charity. It was something REJECTED.
We fill our wardrobes with clothes, which we regularly purge and put them in black bin bags and drop them off to the charity shop. And do we pick our best clothes? I don’t think so. We pick our worst. Those which we do not deem fit enough to wear. Those we bought on an impulse (with a fleeting feeling of guilt), and those which we simply do not like anymore. So what makes us think that what we do not want, our rejected items would be good enough for someone else?
The harsh amongst us may respond with, “Beggars can’t be choosers”. But honestly, what makes you think that beggars want to be beggars? One day you may find yourself in that same position. In a position where the clothes on your back are those that others threw out. Yet in times of affluence we have no qualms about giving away our rejects. Now imagine a scenario where you go to a neighbour’s house, and he has just bought a crate of fruit (Oh yes, wholesalers have a lot to answer for, but that rant will be saved for another day).
‘Hiya, look at all this fruit I bought”
‘Wow! That looks like a bargain’
‘Yeah it was. You should take some when you go home. This is waaay too much for us.’
‘Erm, ok thanks! We could do with eating healthier food, have you seen this belly I’m nurturing?!?!’
And you both laugh.
So you go home, and you look into the bag your neighbour gave to you and reach in, and pick out a wonderful looking fruit, and turn it over, to be greeted to a mouldy slimy mess. As you look at the rest of the fruit, you realise that they are all rotting. How would that feel? So your neighbour’s ‘charity’ amounts to nothing but giving you the rejects, but they feel good about it because they have given you something, and you feel like crap because what you though was a gift, turns out to be nothing but useless mush, only fit for the bin (or if you are feeling green, the compost heap).
Our giving to charity is based on principles of survival of the fittest. The “I’m alright Jack” attitude which means that as long as my stomach is full/bloated, and I have a roof over my head and all the things that I want, then maybe, on a good day, when the sun is shining and the birds are singing, I may give something to a worthy cause. THAT IS NOT CHARITY! Charity is giving away the best of what you have for the betterment of others and consequentially the rest of society. Let’s not think of charity as charity, but as the giving of gifts. That way you will realise that giving the gift of charity is about pleasing others and not about allaying our guilt.