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Pay Yourself First: The Charity Bucket

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The Charity Bucket is the most important bucket there is.  This is the bucket where you get more out of it than you put into it.  Yes, charity…who would have known?  Giving to the Charity Bucket can be given either in money or in time.  I do my best to give both.  As my mentor, Jim Rohn says, “It is better to give than to receive, because giving starts the receiving process.”  As soon as you give of your money or time to a worthy cause, you receive this great feeling that money can’t buy.  I know it may sound corny, but it is true.  You might not feel it right away but the feeling will come.  You may be thinking, “I have to give money to what?”, or “I have to go where and do what for free?”  I have had those selfish feelings before too, but trust me, they quickly go away and are replaced with this warm feeling of selflessness. 

Time Is The Best Thing To Give

As I mentioned, you can give money, time, or both.  I personally believe that giving your time is the best thing you can give.  Time is more valuable than money, because we can make more money, we can’t make more time.  You often hear the expression, “I can make time for that.”  Well, no you can’t really.  You can “take time” but you cannot “make time.”  You don’t have the power to create more hours in a week, but you have the power to take an hour from one activity and give it to another.  In The Matrix, the Marovinchian said it best, “How can we ever have time, if we never take time.”  Giving of yourself allows you to be present, gain the experience, and help out your fellow man.  The smile or the thank you that you receive is such a powerful reward.  It is a reward for your soul.  It can change the person you are.  The experience of giving of your free time creates all kinds of positive feelings and even opportunities. 

Sharing My Faith

I give of my time in three big ways.  My wife and I teach Sunday school teacher at our church.  Well, she teaches it and I am her assistant.  I take care of the kids folders, participate in class, make the kids laugh, and keep the kids straight.  I get to meet all kinds of people as I greet all the parents at the door as they are picking their kids up from class.  I get to hear the funny jokes the kids make, but more importantly become recharged in my faith by sharing the word of God and experiencing the sheer innocence with the kids’ questions and answers.  I have the opportunity to practice my faith, share it with people, and be a part of our Church family.  What great food for the soul!!! 

The Knights of Columbus

I am also a member of the Knights of Columbus through our church.  The Knights are a great organization, always volunteering their time to help out those in need, either directly volunteering to do some work for a cause, having pancake breakfasts at the church, or selling concessions at local events.  The money received from the concessions and events goes right out to others.  As a Knight, I have the opportunity to get out in the community, work hard for my church and my fellow man.  I receive the experience of brotherhood and giving just by being part of this organization.  It’s hard to put a price on that. 

An Agape You Say?

My family and I also provide a monthly luncheon for the people of our church.  We give of our time, preparing food and serving it our Church family.  It is called an Agape.  The purpose is to provide an opportunity for the people in the Church family to get to know each other better and form a close family bond.  I love preparing the food, washing the dishes, and working side by side with any other volunteer who is lending a hand.  There is something very therapeutic about this type of labor as I don’t have to think, I just have to feel.  Feel the joy of providing for someone else, seeing their smiles, hearing their laughter, and receiving their gratitude.  This is powerful food for the soul.  I highly recommend you give of your time to worthy causes.  The experiences can really give you a perspective on life and what is really important. 

Time Is Best But Money Helps Too

Although I believe giving of your time is the most important, financial giving is important too.  “Money makes the world go round,” or so they say.  Everything has a cost, so everyone should give what they can.  Like all of these buckets, I have a plan that I execute.  We have automated weekly tithing to the church, give to the church causes, sponsor an up and coming priest in India through his studies, and give to a bunch of charities through the year outside of the church.   

As far as the tithing goes, we have automated the withdraw of money out of our account each month, which represents what we want to give to the church each week.  This way, if we have to miss church, we are still giving.  I have a fixed amount that I have automated for each week and revisit that amount, January of every year, to see how much I can increase what I can give.  There are also other causes that simply come up as we are in church or when others are doing great things for the community, ask for donations.  One of my buddies rides a bicycle and raises money for cancer.  Another one of my buddies plays video games for the GAMES OF LIFE charity where he collects donations each year.  I make it a point to give to these types of things whatever I can. 

What About Those Clothes You Don’t Use?

We also donate clothes to The Salvation Army, Purple Hearts, and some Ecumenical societies.  We are so blessed in life that we have more than what we need.  Throughout the year, my wife puts together these donations for various charities.  Most people have so many things that they don’t need.  Things that just sit there, take up space and collect dust.  Imagine giving that coat you never use to a person who sleeps on the street, or the clothes that you are tired of wearing to someone who would treat it like gold.  I can’t describe this feeling, but when you feel it, you want more.  So, go through your closets, look in your basement…if you are not using it, give it to someone who needs it. 

Final Thoughts

Like I said, the Charity Bucket is the most important of all.    You are gaining opportunities, experience and feelings that money cannot buy. I have also noticed that the more charitable I am, more is given back to me. Giving truly starts the receiving process. By investing into the Charity Bucket, you are also investing in your soul. As Winston Churchill said, 

“We make a living by what we get.  We make a life by what we give.”

Give all you can, and reap all the benefits of what you get back.  It is chicken soup for the soul, so eat it up. 

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