Should we give till it hurts? No, I don’t think so. We want less hurting in the world, not more – that’s the whole idea. But part of me wants to ask: if it doesn’t hurt, how do I know I am doing it right?

An article in this week’s Chronicle of Philanthropy profiles a mathematics professor at Northern Virginia Community College who works two additional jobs so he can earn enough money to give away half of his $100,000 income each year. He can barely afford his taxes and mortgage. Watching the accompanying video, entitled “Giving Until it Hurts”, really got me thinking.

I am so fortunate to be able to give what I consider a meaningful amount without sacrificing my own financial well-being. But what if that weren’t the case? Could I still “afford” to be generous? Would I be? If I just give away what I have that’s “extra”, what does that say about my generosity? Could I give more this year? Today?

Some of the most generous people I know have nothing to spare but they give anyway. I have seen patients stuff a bill or two in the donation jar at the free clinic when I know they just lost their job. One grateful patient says he always thinks of us first whenever he earns a little money, and regularly sends us checks for $50. He lives in a rundown house on next to nothing and is one of our major donors. I don’t think it hurts. I think he feels great about it.

Maybe by saying “give till it hurts” we really mean “give till you feel it”. That’s a lot of what my Month of Hundreds is about: paying more attention to who and what is going on around me; being more present and more conscious. Starting Friday I’ll be giving away $100 a day!

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4 Responses to Giving Until it Hurts?

  1. Richard says:

    I’m so inspired! The “give till it hurts” video is stimulating and promotes introspection and accountability.

    Thank you, Jill

  2. Timea says:

    You would make a good tortured Catholic, Jill. I am being ridiculous, I know, but I can’t resist. 😉

  3. Dawnah says:

    You are touching lives each day. Listening to that voice within your soul, put there by the one who loves you most.

    He continues to this day to use you for HIS purpose. Oh how pleased He must be with you, He must trust you to speak with money into others lives, and you listen so obediently

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