Beware your generosity does not become an entanglement. Know your worth. Know the value of the gifts that you bring to any and all potential relationships or partnerships. It’s an essential lesson hard learned for most of us. We must be rewired and programmed anew from the disturbed lessons in sharing that we’re so often taught as children.

There you are with your shiny new toy, enjoying yourself on the playground, only to have some “less fortunate” peer come upon you and beg you into “sharing.” Your instinct says, “No,” but your mother (usually) wanting to teach you to be “nice” chides you into handing over that toy you cherish so, in an effort to teach you a twisted lesson in community. The whiny peer is most often not grateful, monopolizes that toy, and before you know it, you nearly come to blows just to get it back. In many cases it’s likely mangled or broken, upon its return. This is one of many ways we’re taught a false sense of generosity.

The fact is, what’s yours is yours. It is solely your discretion as to how you will or will not distribute what is yours. You and you alone are the steward of your gift. You are the guardian of that which has been entrusted to you. It’s easy to be the watchman once you know what and who to look for or the Shepard who is well aware of the wolves and other predators that prey upon their sheep, but it takes a keener sense of awareness to identify the swine and the dogs that meander about.

“Give not that which is holy unto dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.”

St. Matthew 7:6

“Oh, but we don’t give to receive…sharing is caring,” you might say. Perhaps, but you certainly don’t give to be drained, misused, or abused either and self-care is always the priority. Every good gift that is “trampled” upon reduces the giver, for every gift is an extension of the one who gave it. To insult that gift is to insult or injure the one who shared it. Therefore, it is imperative for the sake of that which is “holy” that you practice discretion. Everyone is not worth your time. Everyone is not worth your gifts. They may be made of the same flesh and bone, with the image of God stamped upon them just as you, but their hearts, for whatever reasons which don’t concern you, are too base to appreciate your value to them. Generosity is a good thing. Not only is it good, it is ideal and essential. Therefore, it is incumbent upon you to be responsible in all your giving. For a careless generosity can be far more detrimental than selfishness.