Daily Meditations

Becoming a Philanthropist

By Abbot Tryphon, October 7, 2019

The act of giving can change everyone’s life for the better

As any history buff knows, these times we are living in can sometimes seem like reruns. News reports are filled with stories of wars, disasters, dictators, attacks on the innocent, increased crime, and the ever present persecution of Christians in various parts of the world. We’ve witnessed increased attacks against Coptic Christians in Egypt, as well as the expulsion of the entire Christian population from parts of Syria. Political unrest is happening in many parts of the world, and genocide is being perpetrated upon ethnic groups in parts of Africa. America seems poised on the brink of disaster, not unlike what was seen in Germany prior to World War I, and the number of families found homeless is nearing the percentages that were found in the Great Depression.

Times like ours call for us to become spiritually fit, so we can be beacons of light among those who have lost all hope. The challenges that face all of us are not for the faint-of-heart. The spiritually fit can triumph over anything, so we must continue trying to encourage this new generation of young people to be prepared for whatever may be coming. We have before us many challenges and hardships, and those who have developed a strong faith must be willing to sharing their faith-based strength with those who are on the edge.

A study of history can show us that we are not the only people who’ve faced these problems, and we will not be the last. What is missing, it seems to me, is the sense of community, of a people who are united to find solutions, and not simply at war with one other. The present political climate in the United States, with its polarization of good people, cannot lead to the solutions we need to turn things around. What is needed is for people of good faith to step forward and help those who have lost homes, jobs, and hope, and lift them, offering help in whatever way we can. Walling ourselves off from those who’ve fallen through the cracks will not make things better.

During times like these we must refocus our attention on the things that build up community. Rather than giving ourselves over to entertainment, or on-line friendships (which are not always bad), we can involve ourselves in active philanthropic activities, such as volunteering in soup kitchens, tutoring homeless kids, manning childcare centers that help parents have the freedom to find jobs. We can volunteer to be job counselors, or for meals-on-wheels. We can look in on the elderly lady living next door, or the young mother whose husband is fighting in the Middle East.

We can volunteer to teach English as a second language to immigrant families, or drive seniors to doctor appointments. We can fill the gas tank of a struggling family at the next pump, or pay for the groceries for the single mother standing behind us in the checkout line.

When seeing someone on the bus that is looking lost in worry, we can offer to pray for them, or even invite them to church with us on Sunday. We can purchase a few extra hamburgers, with the intention of giving them to the homeless people asking for spare change at the entrance to the fast food store. We can offer to sit with a sick relative, and let the caregiver have a few hours to get outside for some much needed leisure time. We can offer to take a neighbor out to lunch, who we know is going through some difficult times. Buy a fistful of McDonald’s coupon booklets, and give a booklet to anyone who asks for a handout. The coupons are not that expensive, the person gets several meals out of them, and when they’re desperate for a meal, it’s a real treat. As you hand the person a booklet, if they say thank you, ask them to pray for you. This allows them to pay for their food, by their prayers, and by preserving their dignity, we make them feel less like a beggar.

Whatever struggles we are going through will seem like nothing, once we’ve given ourselves over in service to others. Even when we are struggling to make ends meet, the power of giving can change our life for the better. By becoming philanthropic ourselves, and focusing on others in need, our own problems will seem less serious. We could even find a number of friends who feel the same way, and start a project together.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

~Abbot Tryphon, The Morning Offering, https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/morningoffering/2019/10/becoming-a-philanthropist-3/


See the source image