March 12

Khalil Gibran: On Giving And Taking…

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“It is well to give when asked, but it is better to give unasked, through understanding…” Khalil Gibran

Khalil Gibran: On Giving And Taking...

Giving and Taking by Khalil Gibran
Once there lived a man who had a valley-full of needles. And one
day the mother of Jesus came to him and said: ‘Friend, my son’s
garment is torn and I must needs to mend it before he goeth to the
temple. Wouldst thou not give me a needle?’
And he gave her not a needle, but he gave her a learned discourse
on Giving and Taking to carry to her son before he should go to
the temple.

Why don’t we give? How do we decide when to give or not give? Recently, I was chatting with my friend Yvette about an incident in which a person selfishly held back giving an opportunity to another friend. It was a classic dog in the manger event; unfortunately, I’m not at liberty to share the details but you get the point… We wondered loudly about what people gain from selfishness and discussed the magic of giving and how it benefits both the giver and the receiver. When we develop the habit of giving freely; performing random acts of kindness, we trigger a chain reaction of giving that comes back to us like a boomerang. In giving, we must also learn to receive. Khalil Gibran, one of my favorite mystic poets, writes beautifully on the subject… I remember when I was first introduced to his brilliant book “The Prophet,” I couldn’t put it down. I inhaled every page and detail and then read it again.

“For in truth it is life that gives unto life – while you, who deem yourself a giver, are but a witness.” Khalil Gibran

Khalil Gibran: On Giving And Taking...

Giving Chapter V by Khalil Gibran
Then said a rich man, “Speak to us of Giving.”
And he answered:
You give but little when you give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.
For what are your possessions but things you keep and guard for fear you may need them tomorrow?
And tomorrow, what shall tomorrow bring to the over-prudent dog burying bones in the trackless sand as he follows the pilgrims to the holy city?
And what is fear of need but need itself?
Is not dread of thirst when your well is full, thirst that is unquenchable?
There are those who give little of the much which they have – and they give it for recognition and their hidden desire makes their gifts unwholesome.

And there are those who have little and give it all.
These are the believers in life and the bounty of life, and their coffer is never empty.
There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward.
And there are those who give with pain, and that pain is their baptism.
And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue;
They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space.
Though the hands of such as these God speaks, and from behind their eyes He smiles upon the earth.
It is well to give when asked, but it is better to give unasked, through understanding;
And to the open-handed the search for one who shall receive is joy greater than giving
And is there aught you would withhold? Contd below

Why do we give? Do you have a personal philosophy about giving and receiving? The initial prompting to give is often an innocent one; we volunteer to help others, we share our extra food with friends and family, we give to the poor, we send donations and gifts to uplift our fellow man. In all that giving, we nurture ourselves, fulfill our desire to make a difference, and we grow in compassion. Ultimately, we are the beneficiaries of our giving. More below. 😉

“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give…” Khalil Gibran

Khalil Gibran: On Giving And Taking...

All you have shall someday be given;
Therefore give now, that the season of giving may be yours and not your inheritors’.
You often say, “I would give, but only to the deserving.”
The trees in your orchard say not so, nor the flocks in your pasture.
They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish.
Surely he who is worthy to receive his days and his nights is worthy of all else from you.
And he who has deserved to drink from the ocean of life deserves to fill his cup from your little stream.
And what desert greater shall there be than that which lies in the courage and the confidence, nay the charity, of receiving?

And who are you that men should rend their bosom and unveil their pride, that you may see their worth naked and their pride unabashed?
See first that you yourself deserve to be a giver, and an instrument of giving.
For in truth it is life that gives unto life – while you, who deem yourself a giver, are but a witness.
And you receivers – and you are all receivers – assume no weight of gratitude, lest you lay a yoke upon yourself and upon him who gives.
Rather rise together with the giver on his gifts as on wings;
For to be over-mindful of your debt, is to doubt his generosity who has the free-hearted earth for mother, and God for father. Khalil Gibran

And what about that biblical warning of not throwing pearls to swine…? I think it has more to do with the company we choose to keep than the giving nature we share with others. Our lives are a reflection of the energy, the people, and the things we surround ourselves with. We must be vigilant… yet we must not hold back from the opportunity to give. In life, there are naysayers and those unappreciative of giving/receiving. With wisdom, we learn how tackle such situations.

What are your thoughts? Have you read Gibran’s writings/poems? Which one comes to mind? Do you have a personal philosophy about giving and receiving? How do you decide when to give or not give? Do share! Thank you. 😉

Positive Motivation Tip: The more we learn to give, the more we open our hearts to receive; in the giving, we are already blessed to receive…

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All photos, Memorial, Khalil Gibran, The Prophet, via Wikipedia and/or via Flickr Excerpts via On Giving and Taking and Giving Chapter V

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet


giving, gratitude, Happiness, inspiration, Khalil Gibran, life, Musings, poetry, postaday, reflections, Religion and Spirituality

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  • Reblogged this on Milenanik3's Blog and commented:
    K.Gibran’s and Elizabeth’s words together made unique journey for me this morning.Wish You go with me on this amazing journey..Have a nice flight my friends!Be blessed in Your lives!

  • You took my words this morning.You filled my heart with gratitude and happiness.It is so good to be connected with Your writings Elizabeth.Thank You for being here.
    Khalil is my favorite poet..with Rumi ,but Khalil opened my spirit,my heart to Love,to people,to Nature..
    I can not find which is my favorite line of Him..all are so special,so amazing.Maybe that one who said:”Your s children are not Yours…”That one change my attitude towards my own seven children.
    About giving..I choose to give always as much as I can,no matter what or to is the best is easy when You have enough love inside You.Receiving is amazing,for fill Your heart with joy and love.

  • My personal philosophy on giving is that the giver feels real. Tony Robbins talks of the 6 human needs, one of which is significance. When we give we feel significant. We are noticed. We matter. We influence. We feel real. The reward then for the giver is to know that you are here. Give freely and relentlessly and you will fill your need for significance to overflowing. Thanks for the thought provoking gift. 🙂

    • I agree… If the giving doesn’t feel sincere, the giver should stop and evaluate the real reason behind the gesture. 😉 the why…

  • Inspiring post! It feels great to be the recipient but it feels wonderful to be the giver knowing that you let God used you to be a channel of His blessings to your fellow human beings…
    BTW, I nominated you for the Beautiful Blogger Award. Thanks for inspiring me in many ways. Please visit my blog for details. Thanks 🙂

    • Thanks for the nomination and I think I stopped by to thank you… Will check. Giving is the twin of receiving, I believe we must be open to both. 🙂

  • just beautiful! I reblogged it. I haven’t yet read Kahlil Gibran but his books are on my Amazon wish list! Thanks for continuing to enrich my life every day.

    • Once you’ve read the Prophet once, you will read it over and over. It is so beautifully written, and the messages so true and powerful, you will wonder why you’ve not read it before. I’ve owned at least one copy of the Prophet for 35+ years and have given many more copies to others and gifts over the years.

  • This is a timely post. In a world where many are struggling to feed themselves and their loved ones, it is important ti remember to give. Gibran says the best gift is to of ourselves, of our time, and I agree.

  • I definitely agree with your comment about the company you keep. Thank you for sharing a wonderful reminder of how restorative giving without the expectation of receiving can be!

    • Thank you for your feedback.. and you know, I write these posts to learn from them, and to clarify my thoughts and views on things. 🙂

  • I cannot think of giving without remembering Jesus pointing out in the temple the poor widow, who gave all that she had, a mite! Bless you for featuring some wonderful sections from the writings of Kahlil Gibran, my very favorite writer in undergraduate school, and a great favorite still!

  • My two wealthiest friends are also my cheapest friends. It is embarrassing to eat out with one or ride in a cab with him–he tips poorly. I once asked him to consider giving to the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Israel. ( )One of my former students founded it and ran it at the time. I knew it was well run, in need of help, and worthy. Moreover, he professed to care about Israel. His response was he never gave to those who asked.

    The other bargained down five year old selling toys at a garage sale. She ended paying a nickle for a toy worth three or four dollars. She runs a family foundation, but money only goes to her family or friends.

    I can only assume those live in what I call the dark.

    I also worked in the most poverty ridden part of NYCity and the poor were the ones who gave more than they could.

    I have little patience with the praise that goes to those who give, but who it doesn’t hurt to give. I am glad they give, Thank You Bill Gates; but also think there are many who deserve more applause.

    One other thought–giving of yourself is life giving, but so is giving material goods.

    Thank you for this. Have pressed it to my blog and will use it at some point.

  • Well, it’s quite simple, Eliz–giving just feels damn good afterward!! ps I do adore Khalil Gibran and drank his every word back in the 60s when I was a teen. Great post.

  • Read The Prophet and having children to raise helped in many ways to give up some of the self-ish person I tend to be at times. Thanks again!

  • The Prophet is probably my favorite book ever. I practically raised my kids on according to his view on children. So beautiful …. ” Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughter are Life’s longing for itself”. Seriously, you have to hand it to Mr. Gibran, he knew his stuff and he transposed it so eloquently. May he RIP.

  • Wonderful and truly inspirational post! I love to give more than I like to receive, which is weird perhaps. So that is definitely something I have to work on. But there are indeed so much joy and pleasure in giving, even to just smile at someone can be a very valuable gift. 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing this Eliz!

  • I was late to read the Prophet but that was probably a good thing. I am a firm believer in ‘you get what you give’ and we all need to embrace that mantra. The smallest kindnesses can sometimes make the biggest difference.
    Thanks Elizabeth

  • What a lovely post this is! I think my personal favourite from Kahlil Gibran was his piece on Love.

    “…Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
    But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
    To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
    To know the pain of too much tenderness.
    To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
    And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
    To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
    To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
    To return home at eventide with gratitude;
    And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.”

    Just beautiful… *sigh*

  • When we give from the heart, we no longer act out of the desire for approval, constantly looking around to see who’s watching. Our guiding light is love and compassion.

    We do not give to get. We give to give. 😀

    • Well said… though there is nothing wrong with getting also. As they say back in the village, one hand washes the other… TY! 🙂

  • So lovely Elizabeth. In Habitat for Humanity there is a saying as you build that as the walls go up, the walls come down. It’s the ultimate gift as you give of your time, it’s you who actually receives the gift. I felt this today again in reading your post. Thanks for your light.

    • Thank you Sharon for stopping by and I get that sensation when I volunteer for organizations… we are blessing ourselves too. 🙂

  • The Prophet was one of my term papers way back early on in high school. Really enjoyed the journey. I can still recite one of my favorite passages from memory:
    “Ah love! Could you and I with Him conspire,
    To grasp this sorry scheme of things entire.
    Could we not shatter it to bits,
    And remold it nearer to our heart’s desire.”

    I also loved the passages about children that orples mentioned.

  • Giving freely, so important, feels so good. Gibran, love love love Gibran. Thank you for sharing this!

  • Yes – What a beautiful honor to Kahlil Gibran….a man ahead of his time and imagine, I read him today. With gratitude for our applauding the soul-beauty of this man. I applaud men – please stand up listen – it is okay to express emotions – please~ the world, women are waiting and waiting !

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