“People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered; forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true friends; succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight, build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; do good anyway.
Give the world your best anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; it was never between you and them anyway.”
~ Mother Teresa
I don’t know if this quote is an actual Mother Teresa quote or not, there’s a lot of misinformation out there, but regardless… it was a good one. I read it in a comment left by someone in response to an anonymous post by a Pastor’s Wife, posted on Tara’s View of the World last week. It raised a few emotions in me…
I was raised by very generous parents. Their generosity was contagious and I feel that I have become a very generous person myself and I also married a very generous man. We all get such joy out of giving!
Various things happened to myself and to my parents over the past few years that caused me to question if it was all worth it. My flesh, at times, desperately wanted to react to people’s quick ability to loose their attitude of gratitude. It’s hard not to – I’m not super-human. I found myself fighting against bitter thoughts when people started demanding things from ourselves (and my parents alike), like it’s their right to benefit from our generosity. Please tell me, since when did a privilege become a right?!
My parents probably wouldn’t say this out loud but… I’m sure they’ve wondered the same. I’ve watched many people abuse / take advantage of their generosity over the years, family members included… and I’ve watched them continue to give regardless. They are an inspiration to me!
I’ve gone through what this quote talks about. I have fought the urge to stop helping people because of their behaviour that followed, but I know in my heart that this is not what God wants me to do. If I do stop living a generous lifestyle… I know that the devil wins. When we stop giving – we start living for ourselves – we start living in the flesh and we are called to live in the Spirit. It takes faith to live like this!
My parents live like this. They have been obedient to God’s principals of seed time and harvest / sowing and reaping. They are blessed because they’ve been a blessing. Once you stop giving, you stop the flow. Take the Dead Sea for example, it has no way to give out the water that comes in, this results in stagnate, lifeless waters. God’s called us to be like rivers of living water!
When being generous with people gets tough, which includes forgiving them for their actions, the key for us to remember is, we are to give as if we’re giving to God, not to people. People will disappoint us but God never will.
I also do believe that we’re to be led more by the Spirit regarding who / what / when we give… You know — to plant in good ground! I’ll continue to be generous with people – it’s my nature because it is God’s nature… but I will be more discerning in the future!
At least I’ll try 🙂