A conversation is said to have taken place between a hen and a hog. Aa they passed the town hall, they saw the subject on which the mayor was speaking that night, "How Can We Help the Poor in Our City?" After a moment's reflection, the hen said, "I know what we can do. We can give them a ham-and-egg breakfast!" The hog protested, saying, "The breakfast would be only a contribution for you, but for me it would mean total commitment!"
As hoggish as he may be, the hog saw right through the hypocrisy of the hen who would so voluntarily give of her abundance, while suggesting her friend gives of his very livlihood..
We all benefit from what is given to us. We all owe our peace and quiet to the civil servants, soldiers, firefighters, policemen, EMTs and doctors, around us. We owe it even to our neighbors who, out of a simple sense of community, would warn us if something fishy was happening in our house while we were gone. That’s why we live in communities for support, strength, and security. We are in a sense indebted to the society around us so that when we give, we only repay what has been laid at our feet for free.
When we give, we are really just give back of what has been extended to us. Real giving goes beyond that. I heard it said one time, “It doesn’t count till it hurts!” Indeed, it is when it hurts that we start really giving and investing in others. That’s when we go beyond and give more than has been given to us.
I love JFK’s words, “Seek not what your country can do for you, but rather seek what you can do for your country!” and we do so through our giving to the community. The thing is, do we give like the hen or like the hog? The measure of our giving is not in the gift, but in what we’ve got left after we’re done giving!
If you appreciate these articles, support their upcoming publication in a book called, "REFLECTIONS OF A FIRE CHAPLAIN"