It is in giving, Saint Francis teaches us, that we receive. So, if you want to receive, that is, if you want to be rich, give.
But let’s get our terms straight here because so many of the messages we hear in 2023 urge us to sort our lives out by our possessions. We can easily lose touch with things that truly give meaning to each day, indeed to an entire life.
We may fret about how much money we have in the bank, thinking that is a measure of wealth. Or where we live compared to others, or what our income is or the things in our closets, our driveways and on our shelves. Things and dollars are not measures of wealth – or worth. Sure, these are things that you can give away, in whole or in part but that is not all that you can give.
So, what about giving? What do you have to give? How can you give without going broke? You have kindness to give. You have time to give. You can mail a real letter, make a phone call, smile at a stranger. You have expertise in something that another person will benefit from. You may have a talent for art or song or storytelling. You may be an honest broker when a friend is getting gaslighted. Perhaps you are simply a sounding board. You can share a knowing nod, exchange a look, squeeze a worried hand.
Giving away something you have but need for yourself, whether that is money, personal or mental space, goods or services, is harmful to you and no help, in the long run, to anyone. Giving has little to do with stuff and everything to do with intention. In its purest form, giving is done with no expectations, no strings attached, no ulterior motive. Giving is sharing at your most appropriate level of generosity and assistance in the moment – because you are able, and you see a need. It never diminishes you, nor expects anything in return.
And you can give to yourself. Remember this. You can give yourself permission, love, respect, understanding. Your power to make a change by giving includes you!
And therein lies the mysterious alchemy of giving. No matter what and how you give, or to whom, when done with sincere generosity of spirit, you receive an abundance of spiritual feedback in return. How do I know this? How will you know it’s working?
I will tell you this: as sure as there are laws of arithmetic, physics and thermodynamics, there are laws of metaphysics, behavior and love. St. Francis knew this. I know it, too. And so will you once you begin to put this into practice.
And you will know the richness of your life.