(07.22.21– Getting There On My Own! -Matthew 6: 1-4)
My friend, may I ask you a question? "Give until it hurts!" Perhaps, but there's likely a bit more to it; much more. Motive, for example. Was that last dollar given in humility or pride? Or, were you looking for praise?
My friend, Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day.
I'm M. Clifford Brunner.
"Give until it hurts!" This old adage has been around a long time and I'd always felt that it meant that you needed to dig deeply until you reached that last buck in your wallet. It really "hurt" since there was nothing left when you did. Perhaps, but there's likely a bit more to it; much more. Motive, for example. Was that last dollar given in humility or pride? Or, were you looking for praise?
Here's a story: Preacher and evangelist Charles Spurgeon, apart from his duties as a cleric, also raised chickens on the side. It seemed that their purpose was to supplement the meager income that he received as a pastor. Over time the Spurgeon coup became larger and larger and the supply of poultry and eggs increased. Yet when asked to share his bounty with family and friends, would always exact a price for his wares. "The eggs and chickens are not free!" was Spurgeon's response. This went on for years and the man who had become famous for his charity and sermons began also to build a reputation for stinginess and greed. Nonetheless, when asked about this apparent character flaw, the reply was always the same. "The eggs and chickens are not free!" In his lifetime Spurgeon never commented on the criticism. In fact he seemed to thrive on it. The more the story spread, the more dedicated he was to his coup. Many went away shaking their heads wondering how such a God-fearing man could be so greedy. After his death it was finally revealed that all of the income he had received through his beloved coup had been channeled to support elderly widows in London. None of the profits had ended up in his pockets. Simply, he wasn't willing to take the credit for the charity but risked criticism and misunderstanding rather than reveal his good works. (Bits & Pieces, March 3, 1994, pp. 1-2.)
Truly this is an example of "giving until it hurts." Having little left after giving is one thing. But, having others misunderstand your giving, even criticize you for it, is something else. Shunning recognition and keeping your charity as a matter between you and your God is not always easy. Nevertheless, it is God's prescription for charitable works. Being secretly stingy is mean and sinful. Being publicly charitable