The Fundamentals of Giving- Part I

Duty, Aid, Dignity and Work Ethic

Back in 2003, while a missionary in Honduras, I came across a gentleman in a small village in central Honduras who, from my point of view, was poor, out of work and had a need the size of Texas with a family that almost matched the population of Texas. At the time, and being new in the mission field, all I could do was to compare him to my standard of living. I had nothing else to go on. My immediate reaction was to help. I thought to myself “I am going to offer this man a job and help him come out of his plight.” I knew that I could not just give him what he needed because of what I had learned in the past. As the old proverb goes, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” That seemed simple enough. However, I soon learned that human condition and environment are a bit more complicated.

The next day held a lesson I would never forget. I approached the man with a job and his response totally shocked me. He said, “I do not need work, the Gringos give me all I need.” He was, of course, talking about the other missionaries in the area. He shared the truth of the matter with me because he did not see me as a missionary. I was Honduran, I spoke his language, and, to some degree, I understood the culture. He had no idea that his statement would catalyze a fundamental shift in my approach to missionary work and my approach to giving. 

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