Give First, Not Last

By Jos Duncan Asé

The adage “give someone your last” evokes a sense of profound sacrifice and is often celebrated as the ultimate expression of love and care. It’s noble to give the coat off your back to someone trembling in the freezing cold. Yet, in my journey to understand true stewardship of wealth and abundance, I’ve come to a realization: Giving your “last” may very well perpetuate a cycle of lack, rather than break it.

When you give your last, the recipient may not have the ability to reciprocate or use your gift in a way that generates further value. The act of giving your last is typically unplanned — some kind of desperation or a spur-of-the-moment decision sparked by compassion but without forethought. There’s an underlying panic, a sense of loss, even as you extend your hand.


Let’s take a step back from the notion of “giving last” to think about the power of “giving first.” It’s a shift that can transform the essence of generosity. Consider this: if you set aside a portion of your abundance to share — say, on payday or when you come into a windfall of money, say, at tax time — you give from a place of strength, not scarcity. This planned giving allows you to give thoughtfully, meaningfully, and in ways that foster significant impact.

By giving first, you distribute from a surplus, not from the ‘bottom of the barrel’ of your resources. The implications can be profound, both for you and for those on the receiving end. Here are some ways to give first and the benefits:

Designate a ‘Giving Fund’:

  • Set aside a percentage of your income each month specifically for giving. This ensures that you’re sharing from a place of abundance.
  • You create a habit of generosity that’s sustainable, fostering a sense of peace and ongoing prosperity.

Invest in Community Projects:

  • Allocate funds to initiatives that have the potential to grow and benefit the collective.
  • Your contribution can multiply, leading to a more robust and supportive community.

Offer Your Time and Skills:

  • Beyond money, give your expertise and hours to causes or individuals.
  • This can lead to skill development and networking opportunities, enriching your own life as well.

Educate on Financial Literacy:

  • Share knowledge on managing and growing wealth with those you assist.
  • You help others become self-reliant and capable of breaking their cycle of lack.

Support Through Microloans:

  • Provide small, interest-free loans to help others start or expand their endeavors.
  • You enable entrepreneurship, which can yield returns and success stories within your community.


In giving first, you’re not just handing out resources; you’re sharing the seeds of growth and abundance. It is generosity coupled with strategy — a formula for sustained impact. This approach allows you to help others without compromising your well-being and serves as a powerful testament to a more thoughtful form of care — one that enriches rather than depletes, empowers rather than just aids. Let us all aspire to give not from our lack, but from our surplus, transforming the energy of giving into a regenerative force.

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