"...everyone who makes a sacrifice needs a little sense of satisfaction." ~ Hans Keilson (1909 - 2011) German author and WW II refugee / survivor
* * * *
The rock legend Mick Jagger famously sang on one of the Rolling Stones best known hits, "I can't get no satisfaction." Sometimes what we want and what we get are two very different things.
Those who go through life seeking their own satisfaction do, in fact, rarely find it, or not enough of it to fill their lust for self-indulgence.
But those who sacrifice, for others, for the "greater good" or for some cause which they believe to be worthwhile, often find that what they gave provided them with a greater return in soul satisfaction than they ever anticipated.
Satisfaction is an interesting word, in that the root is "sate" or "sated" meaning to be full. Empty people sometimes pursue their own satisfaction with blood, sweat and tears, only to find themselves more empty at the end of that blind alley than they ever thought possible.
However, even those who give cheerfully (and God said he loved a cheerful giver) often hope for a "little satisfaction", a small sense of "I did a good thing" or "I hope that makes a small difference."
Altruistic giving is that which expects no reward or return at all. Nothing. No smile, no "thank you", no gratitude. That goes against our human nature. We are both givers and takers. Hopefully many of us try to stay a little more on the "giving" side of the spectrum than the "taking" side of life. I read somewhere that we should not go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands, because we need to be able to throw something back once in a while. Too true.
Let us not, however, confuse mild generosity with genuinely sacrificial giving. And even more to the point, let us not fool ourselves into thinking that when we do give sacrificially, we are not, in some small secret place in our hearts, hoping for just a little satisfaction. It is, after all, only human.
What we may want to keep in mind, however, is that God does not necessarily look at what we gave, but rather at what we have left, after we have given. It is just a thought.....
* * * *
As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. "I tell you the truth," he said, "this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on." Luke 21:1-4