I've got three short stories for you and I want you to see if you can find the similarities between them.

Story #1:  A woman puts a bag of quinoa in the food drive donation box at her church.  Another woman sees her doing this and mocks her by saying, "You wasted your money.  Those types of people don't eat quinoa.  They all just like to eat junk food."  Another woman standing nearby nods her head in agreement.

Story #2:  A man and his wife are very good friends with another couple that have four young children.  Unfortunately, the other couple's house burns down.  The other couple confesses that they were in foreclosure and the insurance company will rebuild the house, but the bank will be selling it to someone else.  Ultimately, this family of 6 becomes homeless.  The man and his wife decide to buy their friends a house, furnish it, and charge them below-market-value rent so they can get back on their feet.  When asked at church what they've been doing lately, the man and his wife tell their friends about the house purchase and how it has taken up most of their time finding the right one, picking out the right furniture, etc.  One of their longtime friends retorts, "I don't need you telling me that I don't do enough for poor people."  Another says, "Well I give to my children.  I think you should always put family first."  Still another says, "Why are you spending so much money on these people?  You should cancel this whole transaction and just go on a nice vacation."

Story #3:  A young, newly married couple finds out that one of the teenagers at their church has been couch surfing for the past few months.  This teenager has had a life of one hardship after another that has led up to this point.  After discussing it with one another, the couple decides to invite the teenager to stay on the couch in their 1-bedroom apartment for a year or more in order to get established in a career or go back to school (his choice).  Word of this new arrangement spreads throughout the church and an older couple arranges a visit with the younger couple.  They implore the younger couple to not help this teenager.  "He likely deserves what is happening to him and you are not really helping him by making his life easier," states the husband of the older couple.  "Besides, this will be hard on your marriage since it is so new," states the wife of the older couple.  The younger couple notes that the older couple has a 4-bedroom house, of which three bedrooms are consistently empty.

Think about all three of these *true* stories and we'll delve a little deeper into them in my next installment of this series entitled "Giving It All Away."