Monday, March 9, 2009

Hard times, open hands

People respond to economic hard times in differing ways.

Some become paralyzed by fear. Some tighten their grip on money and possessions. Some focus all their efforts on gaining more, by honorable or dishonorable means.

But some people look beyond their own fear of loss and see something more urgent: the needs of others. So they give more, not less, when a charity or church or neighbor asks for help.

Among them are the admirable people who made Charlotte's Critical Needs Response Fund such a success. An outpouring of donations -- $2.6 million worth -- made life easier for many local residents this winter.

What makes giving possible in the face of uncertainty? Gratitude for what you have been given. Compassion for those who struggle. Awareness that you bear the responsibility of being God's hands in the world. Trust that whatever happens, you are loved.

What is your experience? Have you seen people become more or less generous during this recession? Have you become more or less aware of the needs of others?