Giving unconditionally and sacrificially
By Kristen Seeber
Women’s Fund of Smith County
Springtime and Easter beautifully illustrate the heart of a giver. We are reminded of glorious gifts, as the azaleas bloom and the sun shines brighter, longer. I believe the Giver of these gifts wants to teach us about unconditional love and sacrificial giving.
Sometimes, it’s hard to know which is the more meaningful gift – the gift given or the gift received. Giving from one’s own life to the life of another transforms both lives. We notice the element of sacrifice when something has to change in order to give the gift. Priorities shift. Values are reconsidered. And every time we give, we are reminded of the reasons why we choose to do so.
For many of us, giving is a response of gratitude, recognizing that what we have to offer was first a gift to us. The offering can be an expression of joy from having received and being able to give back a portion of what has been given to us. Dedicating time, talent and treasures show commitment to this truth.
Time - one of the most precious of all gifts. We chase it. We want to hold onto it. Yet it slips through our fingers. A significant way to invest time is in the lives of others. Reading to a child, tutoring an adult or delivering a meal makes time last. Volunteer hours are some of the best hours, because they are given freely with nothing expected in return. The experience becomes a life lesson of unconditional giving.
Sharing talent goes along with sharing time as a wonderful way to give. The gift of organization, event planning, leadership or even answering the phone with a smile – all are gifts that matter. Contributions are not always in the form of dollars. An unselfish donation of any kind is a gift that has eternal value.
Not long ago, I asked a new member of Women’s Fund of Smith County why she joined this giving circle. She answered, “I want to be a part of something bigger than myself.” Like spring, it’s refreshing to see new life, new understanding in the eyes of someone who is realizing what it means to give from a cup of blessings. When we go beyond self and become others oriented, we are learning about philanthropy.
To give sacrificially and unconditionally is to notice a difference in our own life, while a difference is being made in the life of someone else. Though not expecting recognition for the decision to give in this way, a reward is always there. Dignity is restored. Hope is realized. A stance is taller. That’s the message of Easter: suffering and sacrifice, love and forgiveness, hope and redemption. All of us are givers and receivers of this springtime message, and all of us are richer because of it.
Kristen Seeber serves as president of Women’s Fund of Smith County. Membership in this collective giving circle is open to any woman who would like to be a part of our mission to leverage the philanthropic capacity of women as catalyst for positive change. Visit www.womensfundsc.org for information about our outreach and membership opportunities.