On Giving

You give but little when you give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself that your truly give.

There are those who give little of the much which they have – and they give it for recognition and their hidden desire makes their gifts unwholesome.

And there are those who have little and give it all. These are the believers in life and the bounty of life, and their coffer is never empty.

And is there aught you would withhold?
All you have shall someday be given;
Therefore give now, that the season of giving
May be yours and not your inheritors’.

In truth it is life that gives unto life
While you, who deem yourself a giver,
Are but a witness.

You often say, “I would give, but only to the deserving.”
The trees in your orchard say not so, nor the flocks in your pasture.
They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish.
Surely he who is worthy to receive his days and his nights
Is worthy of all else from you.
And he who has deserved to drink from the ocean of life
deserves to fill his cup from your little stream.

– Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet, excerpt on Giving

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