Tuesday, June 17, 2014

"To Give and Not To Give"

    Regarding our giving to those in need, the Bible commands an abundant generosity, as guided by a wise and God-directed discretion.

   "And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment" (Philippians 1:9).

   "Give to him that asketh of thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not away" (Matthew 5:42).

    "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat" (II Thessalonians 3:10).

   The Apostle Paul's prayer for God to direct our love "in knowledge and all judgment" reveals our need for the Lord's guidance regarding our service to others.  As the Lord Jesus commanded, we expect and prepare ourselves to give to those who indicate need.  However, Paul's declaration to the Thessalonians concerning those who show no initiative for personal responsibility confirms that we are not to give to any and everybody.  

   We give to those who cannot help themselves with as much generosity as our Lord makes possible.  "Blessed is he that considereth the poor" (Psalm 41:1).

   We give to those in immediate need who can ultimately help themselves, but we grant only temporary bestowals of beneficence, recognizing we may create a temptation to irresponsibility if we do not temper our giving with wisdom and restraint.  "Study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands" (I Thessalonians 4:11).

   We do not give to those who clearly show no personal initiative, or who have taken advantage of kindnesses received in the past.  As Paul revealed, in God's economy, eaters must be workers.  "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread" (Genesis 3:19).

   Born again believers in the Lord Jesus are not to act as patsies.  We do people no favors by a charity that does not align with the parameters set forth in Scripture regarding both generosity and personal responsibility.  Indeed, if we do not help the genuinely needy when we have the means to do so, we fail to reflect our Lord's abundant generosity and self sacrificial kindness.  However, if we help those unwilling to act in accordance with their own best interests, we also misrepresent the Lord who freely gives, but who does so in order to initiate our response of faith and submission to His Truth.  "We love Him because He first loved us" (I John 4:19).  God will not allow Himself to be taken advantage of, nor does He call His trusting children in Christ to allow the irresponsible to avail themselves of our Christ-formed proclivity to generosity.

   The Apostle Paul prays for God-directed love because we need to be guided accordingly.  The indwelling Spirit of Christ motivates us to devote ourselves to God as the branches of His holy devotion to the needs of others.  That same Spirit mandates that we seek our Lord's direction in such vital matters.   Generosity and discretion walk hand in hand in the hearts of those submitted to the glory and will of God in Christ.  May we be found among this company whose love abounds in abounding wisdom.

"Whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?"

(I John 3:17)

"We hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing."

(II Thessalonians 3:11-13)

Weekly Memory Verse

   Now the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all.

(II Thessalonians 3:16)

No comments: