Listen to episode 356 of the Inspirational Living podcast: Generosity, Contentment & Companionship. Edited and adapted from Our Sunday Talks by James J. Owen.
Inspirational Podcast Excerpt: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast, brought to you by the generous financial support of listeners like you. Today’s reading was edited and adapted from Our Sunday Talks by James J. Owen, published in 1883.
REAL, downright unselfish, generous natures ought to be more numerous than they are — that is, natures who can feel an unselfish joy in the prosperity of others, even though their own lot may be a hard one.
Some people are so constituted that they are happy only in proportion as others are miserable. In other words, though they may possess a reasonable measure of wealth and those material things that are supposed by many to be wholly essential to happiness, their joy is dimmed in the presence of someone who possesses a larger measure of those same material goods.
They must possess more than their neighbor, or else the mean little cross-eyed demon of envy nestles in their bosoms and robs them of their peace of mind.
It requires no great amount of magnanimity of character to be generous to the downtrodden; but it does really take a large nature to be charitable and unselfishly generous towards the ostentatious and purse-proud — those people whose only merit is in the husk and not the kernel.
We can all be generous towards the dead. Even those who in life we cared the least for (and who were least worthy of our respect) call forth a heart-throb of sympathy now that they are gone. It is only then that we think of their virtues, and even chide ourselves for not being more generous to their imperfections when living.
What the world most needs is a spirit of humanity that can anticipate death in the exercise of nobler sympathy and charity — one that does not wait till the pale specter sets its seal upon the heart of a fellow being to send forth an impulse of sympathy on their behalf.