By Grant Boatwright, ED Veritas Life Adventures
Part I: The Practice
In this world, there are a few things that we all revere. Things that we have to take a moment, step back and just stand in awe of. Could we agree that these things are some form of art? And by art, I mean something that is beautiful, unusual, or simply extraordinary. We call so many different things art: Michelangelo’s work on the Sistine Chapel, Michael Jordan’s uncanny ability to make a game winning shot, or a Houdini’s escape from shackles and a straight-jacket under water. If you can appreciate the activity, then you can’t but help seeing and wondering at the “artful” mastery in them.
However, there are some things about these masterpieces that most of us miss while we are mesmerized by the end result.
Practice, difficulty, sacrifice.
Every work, or act, of art took practice to perfect. It was difficult to achieve and attain, and the process was hard at times. Beethoven’s hearing deteriorated as he perfected his art, and only when he lost it did he really create some of his best masterpieces. Jon Donne battled sickness most of his life while composing some of the most moving sonnets in the English language. I am sure Michelangelo’s back was sore after a long day of painting, and Jordan’s body was sore multiple times after exceptionally difficult games. And we all know the sacrifices Houdini and others were willing and have to make to see their art take place.
There is, however, also one other thing that permeates all art.
And that is the truly immeasurable reward those art-makers felt at seeing its fruition.
Sure we can buy a painting, or a song off iTunes, buy tickets to a game, or get admission to an art exhibit; but I feel assured that to those practicing and creating such works of art there is no price for the feeling they get in the actual practicing and creating.
This is the essence of art, and the art and practice of giving is no different.
A ridiculous amount of research has been done across secular and religious fields, on the positive effects of practicing this art of giving. The results show that giving is good for your mood and your health, it promotes cooperation and social interaction, evokes gratitude, and is contagious. These positive effects just keep expounding on others who take it up, who see and take it up from others, etc.
Literally, giving is the gift that keeps on giving!
So, if it is so beneficial, why don’t we do it more often?
Well, because like other forms of art, it can be difficult, require sacrifice, and takes PRACTICE. Also, it often hits us in that place we are most reluctant to share…our wallet. That pay raise we have yet to receive, that new child on the way, that growing child who needs more and more, that new car we have been saving for, or that job we just lost, all make it incredibly difficult to practice opening our hearts and wallets to giving.
There are very few Michelangelos, Michael Jordans, Jon Donnes, etc. due to the difficulties and hardships that come with their art, but they all achieved them. However, in contrast to the extraordinary talent it takes to achieve these art forms, anyone can be an extraordinary giver.
Yes, even a destitute woman who gives her last two pennies, giving all she had, knowing the sacrifice she was making, received that immeasurable reward that comes from practicing giving from a generous heart. (Mark 12:41-44)
Ok, ok, we get it, giving is hard but good. So how do we practice, and practice well, responsibly, and most effectively?
Good news, as a giver myself, and also being a part of something that needs generous gifts from others; I have found a most effective way to practice and achieve this art.
The North Texas Giving Day, annual one-day event, on September 17th, 2015. This even promotes North Texas non-profits and provides a way to see your practice of giving increased. They percentage match every gift of $25 or more to the non-profit of your choice that is accepted and participates in the event.
Veritas Life Adventures NTGD giving page: (Opens 6 a.m. September 17th)
They do the homework for you in making sure the dollars you give go to legitimate non-profits, making your only decision to give be one of alignment. Just find the one that aligns the best with your heart, mind, and soul, and give.
Veritas Life Adventures is a participant in the North Texas Giving Day event, and on top of the percentage match from NTGD, every dollar that is given up to $10,000 will matched that to a donor who is already actively practicing their art of giving. To put it simply, what happens on September 17th is this:
Your gift Percentage Match (8% last year) 10K match Actual Gift
$25 + $2 per gift + $25 = $52
Because of this, last year we raised over an extra $6000. This year we are hoping to get the full 10K match, which would mean an extra $10,800! With Veritas Life Adventures pushing to open a new satellite program in Houston next year, this would be huge.
Your day is approaching, your development in the art of giving is waiting, the opportunity to practice is arriving, and as anther great artist puts it (I am glad to see it popping up more and more):
O ME! O life!... of the questions of these recurring;
Of the endless trains of the faithless—of cities fill’d with the foolish;
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light—of the objects mean—of the struggle ever renew’d;
Of the poor results of all—of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me;
Of the empty and useless years of the rest—with the rest me intertwined;
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?
That you are here—that life exists, and identity;
That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.-Walt Whitman
What contribution will you make to your verse; and to those your contribution provides a verse for?
However, if you’re also like me, you need more than words of good faith. So, here, for the first time on the Internet is our new promo video for you to get a feel of who we are, what we do, and what your gifts will provide:
If you are aligned with the ideology that:
1) Just as a waterfall starts with a single drop of water, a few can affect the many
2) Intensive in-depth training is the most effective way to truly change and attain a new lifestyle
3) One of the most effective Gospel spreading strategies is mimicking the original globe-spanning ministry model of the discipling of the twelve. We take and disciple 10 youth Seekers a year.
Then this opportunity to practice the art of giving with us is one that should not pass you by
So, join alongside others who wish to see this art flourish in their life and others on September 17th, give and reap your immeasurable rewards.