a model for giving

On Saturday night, Krissy and I were sitting in Starbucks reading.  A man came up to our table and said to me, “Excuse me, do you need a hat?” 

I looked up from my reading, looked over at Krissy confused, and looked at the man.  His face showed that he was being serious, and I was caught off guard a bit.  I feebly replied that I didn’t think I needed a hat.  The man paused for a second and said, “Why not?”

I looked at Krissy again, shrugged my shoulders and asked what kind of hat it was.  The man handed me a Starbucks bag, and said that the hat had some kind of devil on it that he didn’t like and that he already had a hat.  Inside the bag was a black Tampa Bay Buccaneers hat.  I told the man that it looked like it was a nice hat.  He simply responded, “Yeah, and I don’t need it, so you should take it.  If you don’t want it, give it to someone who looks like they need a hat.”

I thanked the man for his offer and his generosity, accepted the hat and he walked out of Starbucks.

The bag and the hat have been sitting on my desk since then, and every time I look at it I’ve been thinking of things that I don’t need, and who might need them.  Do I really need all the clothes I have – can’t I give some of them away?  Do I need all my DVDs and CDs?  What about all my books?  Do I really need more of those?  Do we need all the food we have stuffed away in our cupboards? 

As I look around our apartment, there are a lot of things that we don’t need that people all over the world could benefit from.  So, I’m really glad that the man in Starbucks gave me this hat.  If I ever see someone who needs a hat, I’ll probably give it to them – but otherwise, it’s a really good reminder for me to be more generous and willing to part with the abundance of things that I have. 


3 thoughts on “a model for giving

  1. Beautiful! I think this makes so much sense. We are programmed to think of giving as money, but sometimes we just need to share our excess. My sister gave me a french press for my birthday this year so I have since abandoned my beautiful red coffee maker. Over break I hung out with a lot of homeless guys at the local warming center. They serve coffee there but they only have one good coffee pot and can’t keep up with the demand. It just made so much sense for me to give my coffee maker away and let all those guys enjoy it every day. Plus, I get annoyed when I visit someone and they have two of something that I really need…

    Great post 🙂


  2. Just yesterday we put some things on the curb for the Easter Seals pick up. Among the items was one of Rick’s down vests…a really nice one. He hasn’t worn it in over a year. Even though it is like new, we commented on how wrong it is to have things that someone else could really use, just because we might wear it some day. I can’t imagine how many things we should give away. Maybe we should adopt a one year rule for many of our things. “The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same.” – John 3:11


  3. Pingback: can’t catch my breath » Blog Archive » a model for giving, part II

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