This young man discovered that to truly give, you must know what is wanted. To know that, you must form a relationship with the other–you have to love them. Love is merely the willingness to know the other person as he or she truly is, and then offering yourself as you truly are.
In love, we look outside ourselves at the other and want the best for them. In love, we feel our hearts swell as we seek to bring happiness or peace or comfort to the other. What is true giving except these very things?
In order to truly give, we need to actually see the people we are reaching out to. We need to understand that, just like us, they want to be happy. We need to recognize that, just like us, they want to be happy. We need to recognize that, just like us, they are suffering. And from this awareness, our loving compassion is born.
When we remember that giving is loving, we are able to be more accurate in our giving. When we experience giving as loving, we feel the joy that our generous actions can bring.
Radical Generosity by M.J. Ryan
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.
John 15:12-17 (NRSV)