Again, another Ballista74 post…
I encountered one of those tables out and about with a woman selling something to raise money for charity. I got to talking to her and found out the charity. Eventually, I heard that prompting: “Give her something.” I kind of stalled a bit and got my wallet out. I finally pulled a bill out and handed it to her. “What do you want?” she responded. I said I just wanted to donate the money. After a fair amount of resistance, she finally took it with a smile on her face.
But how are most of us? Something I see in all the charity appeals I see is that something is always connected to it. Give $50 and receive a tote bag! $100 nets you that and some concert tickets! And $500 will get you backstage! And most 501c3 organizations (like most churches) have the enticement dangling out there that you can deduct it on your taxes.
This woman literally expected to have to give *something* in return. Something I found interesting in hearing (and I would love to find an article talking about this), is that most of these organizations have found that they have to do this in order to get anyone to consider giving to them. Not surprisingly, this is how the world works. The reciprocity of works. I wrote about it here, but the concept seems to go into everything we are in the flesh.
It even goes into the gift of Jesus. This is the major contrast between real Christianity and other religions. The other religions require a work or payment or measuring up in order to attain salvation, but with Christ, the debt has already been paid!
Such a different thing than what we are used to! Unfortunately, so many have trouble with that. It takes faith to believe that. Unfortunately, many have lined up their checklists and turned salvation into a list of works. Got to pay Jesus back for what He did for you, right?
But He expects much different – simply a recognition of the gift He has given – in other words, that His grace have effect. He tells us things like this:
For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:14-15)
Then in an ever poignant way, He gives this parable:
Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.
So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses. (Matthew 18:23-35)
The issue of the Christian walk always seems to be to show appreciation of this gift that He has given. Which leads back to this woman selling things for charity. It was a total God thing and a blessing for me to be able to do it, and see the look on her face and how she reacted. I don’t know if there was a seed to plant, but I was blessed and had a joy about doing it. I didn’t feel like I had to give her the money. In other words, I wasn’t obligated to, I wanted to…
There’s a lot of damaging teachings out there about giving, but the one we are given in the New Testament as Christians is this:
But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: (2 Corinthians 9:6-8)
It is the same principle as farming: You get back what you put out. We can’t outgive God, and even giving takes a faith that He will be there in grace to provide our needs. Giving is a way we show God’s love. Freely receiving grace is another, for we can easily stop the blessings God has in store for others in this way.
I don’t know whether this was a moment for this woman to praise God or it was a seed that was planted and watered, since this peculiar man came along and didn’t want anything in return for his money, but to God definitely be the glory!
If you need an outlet of consideration for giving, by all means see this. Be the blessing…