Is there wisdom in indiscriminate gifting?

I recently got the following sms message from a “brother”:

Bros, I Am Totally Broke At The Present Moment With No Source Of Income After The Termination Of My Employment Three Months Ago. I Would Aopreciate If Ypu Could Assist Me With Anything Affordable, For The Sake Of The Children Pls. Xyz Bank…Acc No; Xxxxxxxx

I once asked,are we our brothers keepers?

Have a look at this funny but poignant piece (shamelessly stolen):

I Have Just Interviewed 3 Pure Water Sellers Around My Side, And According To Them: Sometimes, It Takes About 6 Hours To Sell 20 Sachets Of Water Which Amounts To A Total Of N200 (1dollar). From The N200, The Profit Is Only About N40 As The Pure Water Sellers Have To Pay The Wholesalers Their Money Back As Well As Cover The Price For Ice Block Which Was Used To Cool The Water. The Long And Short Of It Is That Some Of Them Make Only N40 In 6 Hours Of Hustling Under The Hot Sun, Risking Their Lives On Major Express Roads And Always At The Mercy Of The Environmental Protection Board Who Whip Them With Cane When Caught; Burst Their Water Sachets To The Ground And Fine Them N5,000. As If That Isn’t Bad Enough, When Passengers And Drivers Reach The Traffic Stops, They Prefer To Dash N100, N200 Or Even N500 To Beggars And Fake Sufferers Who Sometimes Make About N1,500 A Day Doing Nothing But Begging, Leaving Them Richer, Luckier And Safer Than The Pure Water Sellers Who Are Young Entrepreneurs Serving the Larger Community With Their Trade, And Trying To Make Ends Meet. So When Next You Are At A Traffic Stop, Please:

1. Dash The Pure Water Seller Instead
2. Buy Pure Water To Patronise Them And If The Change Is (N10, Or Even N20, You Can Leave It With Them)
3. Say Something Nice To Them. Greet Them, Encourage Them.
4. Slow Down, Don’t Knock Them Down.

5. Even If You Wont Buy The Pure Water, If They Ask You To Buy, Rather Than Ignoring Them And Facing Front As If They Are Not Humans, You Can Look At Them, Smile And Say “Thank You”

imagesAll these brought up the salient questions.. burning in my mind,

Are all givings accomplished by benefits, or giving is sometimes foolish (depending on the recipient)?

If, for instance, a man has been irresponsible and sires too many children who are then unable to get good education,would it be wise sponsoring such disadvantaged children through school, seeing that it is not the child’s fault?

Or, would you refuse to have a burden shifted to you by an irresponsible man who breeds like rats without giving a thought to how to cater for them?

Would you assist an irresponsibly excessive drinker afflicted with cirrhosis of the liver, in urgent medical intervention, but not being financially able to foot the medical bill? Or, would you say, he brought it upon himself, and allow him to his fate?

It is said in my neck of woods that:
A rich man in the midst of several poor men is a poor man himself

Apparently, from the yawning gap between the rich and the poor resident in this same country, this doesn’t seem to be valid in all (or most) cases. We may even want to ask how the rich get to be (and stay) rich in a country where grinding poverty is a cheap commodity, and most live beneath the poverty line, and you see numerous people needing financial help all the time.

beggarPeople who like taking would always say that givers never lack. The main thrust of this piece is if this holds true all the time.

Is giving, any giving, a magnet for blessings? If you regularly donate a portion of your hard earned money (as tithe) in church for example,and the money is misapplied.or embezzled by some people, or wantonly applied to fund the extravagant lifestyle of the Pastor in Charge, can that giving be termed as foolish giving?

A friend once voiced out how he always feels guilty whenever a waif knocks on the wound-up glass of his air-conditioned SUV, begs for money, and he ignores them (even the persistent ones). A thousand naira note would immeasurably brighten the day of the beggar, no doubt, but how many people are you going to give to? Like the miracle pastor that (claims to) heal people of infirmities (one by one), televises it and make a great show of the miracles, why can’t the problem (poverty / infirmity) be addressed collectively, rather than the tokenism of singularity), he asks.

Conclusively,would you give, no matter, not minding whether the money would be judiciously expended, and whether the receiver merits it or not? Or, should giving be strategic, with a focus on its wider reaching benefits, rather than a narrower individualistic scope? Would a Bill Gates, spending good money on the eradication of malaria in Africa be said to he callous and unfeeling when he displays a total lack of empathy to more small minded and narrow giving?

That song,blessed is the hand that giveth .. did the Late Lucky Dube have it wrong?

Your take?



1 comment for “Is there wisdom in indiscriminate gifting?

  1. January 17, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    This post brings with it a lot of thinking amd soul searching. To my mind, there is no single simple answer ti the questions raised. I will definitely not give to a church whose pastor is living the luxurious life no matter how many threats of the devourers I get from the said church. In fact, I seldom give to churches. If I feel compelled to pay tithes, it would be to orphanages and old peoples homes where I know whatever i give will get to the intended targets.

    I do not believe in carrying other peoples crosses. I have not finished carrying mine. Giving to a worthy cause is noble and encouraged but I do nothing to show off or because others are doing it.

    Also note the yoruba adage that says you only carry a child that stretches out his arms to you. And even then it is better to give the fishing line than to give fishes.

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