I don’t think this Maxim is like the admonition from Jesus to turn the other cheek, to give even your coat to the person who wants your shirt. I think this Maxim is encouraging us to share what we have. If I have only a cup of food and some one asks for some, I can spare a bite.
I don’t think there is any virtue in starving one’s self so that others may eat, but I do believe there is great benefit in sharing what we have. I live a life of abundance. I do not have first hand experience with poverty, though I’ve been poor, or with starvation, homelessness, or devastating ill health. Sometimes it feels like I don’t have a lot from which to give. My family doesn’t have extra money lying around that we can use to donate. But we do give what of what we have.
Time and flexibility: I offer to watch my friends’ kids when possible.
Ability: I can cook. I offer to make food for friends who are ill or in need.
And yes, money: We donate to the local food bank monthly. Sometimes more, sometimes less, but always every month out of what we have. I think it’s important to give even in the slow money months. Who knows? Maybe one of these days we’ll need the generosity of the food bank? There but for the grace of god go I….