Generosity is Not Win/Lose, Will Smith
Folks, I know that you may think that with all my online hullabaloo, that I’m good at computers. It’s simply not the case. If God wanted us to be good at computing, he would have given us computing devices in our bodies that sent out electrical signals every which way. He didn’t, so I’m fine with where I’m at.
Anyway, the guy I turn to to solve my computer issues is a guy I know named Jeff. I’ve been counseling him about his depression, so I’d better not give his last name. But if you want computer help, you should call him at 638-4966. I can’t remember the area code, so just try the ones you know.
Interestingly though, the last time I called Jeff about computer help, I could tell he was getting irritated with me. I wanted him to explain all the instances in which a left-click on the mouse differed from a right-click, and after about twenty minutes, he just didn’t seem altogether happy. I asked him what was wrong, and he said, “Dr. Matt, it’s really not a good time for me right now.”
I put down my wine, because I knew it was time for some good ol’ fashioned Dr. Matt. “Jeff, it’s okay to tell me if it’s an inconvenient time,” I said. “I’m not necessarily going to know unless you tell me.”
Jeff sighed, and explained that he felt obligated to help when I called, because no one else seemed to have the patience to help me. And because so much of my work depended on these crazy machines working, he felt like if he didn’t help, then I would be totally screwed.
Uh oh, now we had a problem. Jeff, who is a brilliant and patient teacher, was in self-sacrifice. Self-sacrifice is the stuff glorified by the likes of Mel Gibson and Will Smith, but let me tell you folks, it’s not really that great. Let’s say you have a bad heart. And I decide to give you mine because you’re a good person and I’m not. I’ve done a great and noble thing, right? Wrong, Will Smith, wrong. A person who would do such a thing is extremely selfish, because they are only concerned with their own redemption, with exercising control over everything in their own lives, including who deserves free hearts. They’ve decided with absolute certainty their own value, and what fate they deserve as opposed to others. Well, how terribly convenient to be able to control one’s own fate, and how extremely cowardly. Did it occur to you, Will Smith, that true generosity is not win/lose? And that a path of win/win gestures of generosity could be infinitely replenishable? No you didn’t, Will Smith, no you didn’t.
Now folks, while Jeff wasn’t giving his heart away like an idiot, he was still in self-sacrifice in that moment, because it was detrimental to what he needed to do at that moment. It wasn’t the fact that he was helping me that was a problem, and it never should be. It was that he was helping me at the expense of himself, which is simply not sustainable. Think about it, if he were to continue to help me in such a way, then eventually he would be so exhausted that he could not continue, and no one wants that.
So folks, stop cutting off pieces of yourself in order to feed the hungry. They’re going to be hungry again tomorrow, and you’re going to have one less arm. You know that saying: “Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he’ll come back the next day and complain that he’s forgotten how to fish, then tell the man that if he doesn’t catch his own fish, he’ll just have to go hungry.” I love that saying.
Anyway, I’d have more to say about that, but my computer is acting up and Jeff needs to fix it.
Just My Thoughts,