The attribute of giving is important for society and for our own emotional and spiritual development. In the days of our ancestors, ethnic groups or clans of people roamed the earth to search for food and shelter. Each member of the group contributed in some way so that the group would be able to survive. Those who had resources gave some to those who did not. Each member of the tribe was seen as a necessary part of the group. They instinctively knew this was important if every member was to stay alive. They knew the more members they had, the safer they would be and the more food they could gather. It also made a contented group less likely to rob or steal from one another. They often praised each other in circles for the skills they brought to the group. They gave what they could. No member felt inferior to another and those that needed more were not shamed because of their need. They took care of the elderly, the children, and the disabled. There was respect for human life and caring for their members. They didn’t see it as something they had to do. They saw this was a need and they did it for the good of the group.
In present day society, it seems we are being told often by others that self-interest ought to be our way of operating. The state wants to be free of the burden of the children, the elderly, the disabled. At the Federal level in the United States, we only have to look at Congress and their squabbles to see how they feel about taking care of others. In our homes, we have slacked off on children doing their share of contributing in doing chores or helping care for others in the family. ” I’m watching T.V., tell someone else to help,” is often heard. I hear people telling others they should be ashamed for needing things.
Almost every major religion teaches us we should take care of the poor, those who are old or disabled. They also include the children. In the Bible, we are told more than once to do this. The whole New Testament is filled with examples of giving. References to love and to give to others is found throughout and our spiritual welfare depends on doing it. We are told to love and to give even to our enemies. When we do give, it brings us closer to God and to our fellow human beings. Giving safeguards our survival in society and in the Church.