Calluses and Charity, cont. Part 3
When you do the same repetitive work over and over, you form calluses. That’s the way God intended our skin to react. To finish many jobs you want those calluses to form. It’s protection…the way God planned it.
So how do calluses and charity work fit together?
Let’s go back to Grandpa’s life story.
It was always said about him that if you needed $10 and he had it, then you’d have $10 and he wouldn’t. If you needed the shirt off his back, then he would give that to you too. Grandpa was the hardest working man, with huge calloused hands and a big, big heart.
Yet, Grandpa knew when to say “no” to people. Usually, the no’s came from Grandpa when it came time for a man to work or not eat. If the man was not willing to work a job then Grandpa was not willing to help him out. Grandpa believed in a fair work ethic…if you didn’t work, you didn’t eat. To him, this was fair.
To go with him to a “filling station” or what we now refer to as a gas station/convenience store, Grandpa was quick to buy a piece of candy for any young child he saw. He was known to help someone by secretly paying for their gas. Can you imagine the surprise when that person walked inside to pay for their gas and it was already paid for? …that was Grandpa. Yet, let a man be outside the door asking for a dollar to help his family or asking for a cigarette, and Grandpa would blow right by him as if the man wasn’t even there. Calloused? Yes, he was. Gentle? Yes, he was that too.
Charity comes in many types.
When I mention the word charity, what pops in your mind?
- giving money to help the poor
- serving at a food kitchen
- bake sales and other fundraisers outside the local grocery stores
- sending missionaries overseas
- pictures of sad-looking little children with big brown eyes and sores crusted on their bodies
- Delivering food baskets at holiday time
- taking a name off the tree at church for a child’s Christmas
I have participated in each of the above types of charities. Who among us hasn’t been sucked in by those brown eyes and have given money to send missionaries?
When does it stop or do you keep giving and giving?
Crisis vs. Chronic Charity
Grandpa knew the difference between a crisis situation and a case of chronic charity. He was both compassionate and calloused!
A crisis situation can happen to anyone of us at any time. A crisis could be a house burning down around a family, a hurricane hitting our land as Hurrican Harvey or Irma hit the southern United States just a short time ago. A crisis in someone’s life could be caused by a sudden death of the family breadwinner or a child being diagnosed with cancer.
In these crises situations, compassion and mercy will often move us to action, giving of our money, time or supplies.
But what happens when we continue to give aid, our money and time and it becomes something other than compassion in a crisis?
In the book “Toxic Charity” written by Robert D. Lupton,
he lists what to expect when charity continues past a crisis. When a person receives charity,
- First, it is appreciated
- Do it again and there is an air of anticipation
- If it continues, there are expectations
- Keep it up and it becomes a sense of entitlement
- And finally, a dependency is established.
Grandpa knew the difference of charity and compassion. If a man on his crew was hurt on the job, he’d let Grandma know and she’d be sure to have a meal or two to deliver. If money was needed to meet the bills the first month, he’d help with that and elicit help from others. But let it go on longer than necessary? Not Grandpa.
Why did I say Grandpa was calloused? To give a man money or help meet the basic needs in a crisis situation is a good, compassionate and merciful action. But Grandpa knew after the initial crisis is over, to step in and give a man money or meet the basic needs of this man’s family without first offering the man himself the opportunity to meet those needs, is the same as taking away that mans dignity and purpose.
Here’s a “Grandpa” story to illustrate this:
A guy on the work crew broke his left hand, smashing a couple of fingers. Sure enough, Grandpa stepped up to help the man and his family. When this man’s wife had a flat tire a week or so after his accident, Grandpa offered to ASSIST with changing the tire. This is how: Before starting the tire change, Grandpa got a crate for the man to sit on and placed it close to the car, then Grandpa let this man tell him where the tire jack was, how to set the tire jack on the car, and how to take the tire off the car. When it was time to remove the lug nuts, Grandpa loosened them but then let the man finish removing them from the tire.
Did Grandpa know how to change a tire by himself? Of course, he did.
But the most important thing to Grandpa was allowing this man to change his wife’s tire. To Grandpa, it was of utmost importance to assist but not replace this man’s role in helping his family. He offered assistance to the man by enabling this man to save his dignity and self-worth by doing the amount of work of which he was capable.
As I think back to this day, I now understand the unspoken words between these two men…
In my next blog of CAllUSES AND CHARITY, we’ll explore why Grandpa knew when and how to extend his callused hands. If you’ve missed Part 1 or 2 of Calluses and Charity, you may find each on my blog here: www.silverandgoldfriendship.com.