(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 is no better to God's way of thinking. God looks at the heart when we do works of charity, not the hand. When the heart doesn't look for neither recognition nor honor but freely and lovingly gives without thought of self, this is a good work; one worthy of Jesus Christ. We give of ourselves as works of love for Him who gave all, even His only Son, for us. Giving out of love for self, smells in the sight of God. Giving until it hurts means giving until we no longer have any thought for ourselves; a pleasing incense before our God.
We pray. Heavenly Father, help us to shun recognition, keeping our charity as a matter between You and us is not always easy. But we know that it is Your prescription for charitable works. Forgive us when we are secretly stingy or being publicly charitable. You look at the heart when we do works of charity, not the hand. When our heart doesn't look for recognition or honor but freely and lovingly gives without thought of self, this is a good work; one worthy of Jesus Christ. We give of ourselves as works of love for Him who gave all, even Your only Son, for us. Giving out of love for self, smells in Your sight. Giving until it hurts means giving until we no longer have any thought for ourselves; a pleasing incense before You. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!
Therefore my friend, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt 6:34) This Passing Day. May this passing day honor our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and be a blessing to you and everyone you meet. Find a stranger and say hello. Don't let another day pass without your day blessing someone else.
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<firstname.lastname@example.org> From Beech Springs, God bless you for Jesus sake.