Giving versus Sharing

06/07/2013  |  By Chaplain (Maj.) Jonathan Edwards Division Chaplain, 104th Training Division
Chaplains Corner...

As I make a transition from the 104th Training Division to HQ USARC, I want to take this opportunity to thank all those who touched my life and allowed me to minister among them. Thank you to the leaders that shaped my thinking and afforded me the privilege to serve under them. I especially want to thank the Drill Sergeant Corps who taught me valuable lessons of being a Soldier.

When asked to share some reflections for this edition of the Griffon, I was led to present the dynamic of giving versus sharing. Some might quickly conclude they are one and the same, if not opposite sides of the same coin. But let’s consider each on its own merits.

Giving gets so much press. We pride ourselves on being givers. It makes us seem so gregarious and thoughtful. People think well of us especially when we assume the role, or take on the identity, of a philanthropist. We may not seek the approval of masses, but some do look to receive a small measure, or acknowledgement, of “thanks” from the receiver. Of course, it’s not demanded. Yet, we crave the feelings that precipitate from helping the “needy”.

Giving is need-based. Its impact, most of the time, is only temporary. Giving requires little of us, because we extend to others that which is merely disposable. There is no sense of loss. We have abundance, and thus, we can afford to hand-over material goods. Often when we give, the only thing that is touched is our hands.

Sharing is less glamorous. Sharing was once the emphasis in our early upbringing. In kindergarten, our teachers stressed the art/virtue of caring, and being engaged with one another. Yet, many have abandoned this once “hallowed” event in pursuit of a “hollow” act. Sharing grows out of sensing the state of well-being of others.

Sharing is person-centered. Sharing calls us into communion with another. We participate in the lives of others as we make personal investments of time, energy, and resources. When we share, the most important thing that is touched is the heart. We partake equally or jointly in the experiences of life as we come alongside the other.

As citizen Soldiers, we have the distinct privilege of living in the modes of giving and sharing. We give of ourselves in the service to our Country. Whether we are engaged in training new recruits, shaping the Drill Sergeants of tomorrow, developing future officers, or deploying into harm’s way, we epitomize giving. However, we share ourselves with our comrades in arms and with our Families. Our battle-buddies, and those on our right and left, stand shoulder-to-shoulder with us as we accomplish the mission together. Our Families are the support system that allows us to move forward. If we fail to nurture those relationships and share in their joys and sorrows, we will be missing a key tool in our rucksack. It is my prayer that you stay Army Strong! Continue to be givers and sharers as you serve – Pro Deo et Patria – for God and Country!

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