Joy of Giving
Off the Wall, May 16
, 2013

Titus Nospend of Gluton, WI, loved to hunt. A matter of fact, all his conversations were based around the subject. Everywhere and anywhere he would go, if he knew there was someone in the crowd who shared his passion, it wouldn’t take long for the middle-aged man to start to share his many tales. One day, he received a magazine in the mail dealing with hunting. Dumbfounded, he couldn’t figure out who sent him this publication. He didn’t order it, and had no idea who would give him this.

Then he got an idea. Playing on a hunch, he would contact a friend who also hunted. “I bet Thademus Goodhart sent me this.” So, he called him up only to learn this fellow knew nothing about it. Goodhart suggested he call around town. Someone had a reputation of doing what he loved best, giving as a means of spreading joy to others. It was yet to be discovered who this soul could be. Titus had no clue and Goodhart didn’t want to let on that he actually was the guy. He considered it fun to be the mystery giver. Eventually, Goodhart spilled the beans, as the saying goes to which Titus exclaimed, “I knew it was you.”

In addition to getting the magazine, Titus also go some free gifts to go with the subscription – a handing carrying case for his shells, a hand warmer and a membership card.

When Titus found out that Goodhart had done this, he packed up the free gifts that came with the magazine and the recent month’s issue and took it to Goodhart’s house and stated, “I knew your modus operando all along. Here, you got me the magazine so you could have the other stuff.” That floored the senior citizen. “You are wrong,” Goodhart said. “I did know about the bag accompanying the magazine, but that’s it. I was just as surprised.” Titus stated again, “Here, you might as well take it. You paid for it and can have it all back including the magazine.” “It’s all yours,” Taylor said. “Please keep all of it.”

This story probably isn’t as original as one may think. I bet it is more common than one can imagine. As one person put it, “There are always going to be those who will be joyful givers, and on the flip side of the coin, others who are always willing to get, but few who are suspicious when given something unannounced, as was the case here. Could it be that Titus fell into the category of those who lack the skills of being “grateful receivers?”

I was told by my mother years ago that we Volkmann’s are people that take joy in giving, but find it very hard to receive graciously. I think I have changed a bit in my old age. Would I feel resentful if each one of you put five dollars in the mail and sent them to me? Nope! I’ll humbly accept them. If someone would give me a gift card, free bus trip or flies with which to catch fish, would I turn them away? Maybe at one point in my life I may have, but I now praise God when people give me gifts and receive them graciously. The Scriptures tell us, “There is a time to give and a time to receive.” I now can handle that.

Learning to be a joyful giver from the heart without asking for anything in return or even expecting anything in return is a wonderful feeling. Gifts are just that – nothing more, nothing less. If we give with the expectation of always receiving, then it’s not a gift anymore – the idea of giving from the heart is just not there.

Oh, but what splendor there is giving from the heart and letting it go at that. That is the type of love that Jesus Christ brought to this earth when He was born on Christmas. He taught it to the disciples, and we are learning daily how to give and take. On that cross He was slain. His death, so much pain, the harvests I reap are those that I gain. Something to think about…

In my opinion, there should be more Thadamus’ in this world and less Titus’s. What a wonderful world this would be if we all could give lovingly without ever thinking of getting something back.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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