I was talking to a friend, a couple of days ago, about our upcoming trip to Europe.

His ancestry is Italian, and he’s spent a good deal of time in Venice, particularly. Since that’s one of the stops on our itinerary, he was giving me some tips. After joining the many other travelers who have told us to go to the islands of Murano to see the glass-blowers, and giving us new info about buying gold, he gave me a word of caution about pick-pockets. Not just that they exist, but he explained the very elaborate schemes they construct to get the job done.

He warned me to keep an eye on children, and old women with or without a child in tow. They are used as a type distraction, to bump into whichever side of you is free from a purse, or something in your back pocket. Your attention goes to them, leaving the purse or pocket free and exposed to be grabbed, or simply cut at the straps by another person, or even a team of two. Once you realize that your item is missing, you assume it was the old woman or child, and run after them, leaving the actual thief(s) free to disappear.

There sure is a lot of thought that goes into thievery. Apparently, it’s not just intricate plans for a bank robbery, or a Hollywood-quality, Ocean’s Eleven-style, Las Vegas casino heist, either. Even the lowly pick-pocket is working on tight execution of well-laid schemes.

What would happen if we put as much thought and time into giving, as they do in taking?

I know there are countless organizations that do just that. Many, many non-profits exist for this purpose, spending countless hours and much energy planning and strategizing to give. But what about the average person, like you, and me? What if our minds were always putting together ways to give to random people every day?

It makes me smile to think of it.

I think maybe we should all start, today, by scanning the crowd for an old woman. Not to partner with us in an elaborate scheme to trick, and take, but to let her be the first beneficiary in our elaborate scheme to give.


“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7 ESV

“…Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.” Luke 6:38 MSG

“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” 1 John 4:11 ESV