Archive for the ‘giving’ Category

19:17 Lending to the Lord

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, and he will pay back what he has given. Proverbs 19:17

Elizabeth of Hungary feeding the poor.

Fabiola, Basil the Great, Elizabeth of Hungary, Vincent de Paul, George Müller, John Barnardo, William Booth, Carolyn Chisholm, William Passavant…these and many other names in Christian history wear an aura of glory because they cared for the poor. God blessed them with all they needed in their own lives and multiplied their ability to help others.

Each was a fitting representative of their master, who went about helping the neediest and most sorrowful of his day. He gave an incentive to doing good when he promised, “whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.” (Matthew 10:42)

18:16 Unusual Gift

Sunday, August 28th, 2011

John Leland, whose gift was worthy of a president

“A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before the great.” Proverbs 18:16

One of the most unusual gifts in American history brought a Baptist pastor before a president. The Baptists had been much persecuted in the colonies and the president had befriended them. As the pastor brought the gift down from New England, cities full of people turned out to see it, and he used the opportunity to preach the gospel to them.

The pastor’s name was John Leland. The president was Thomas Jefferson. The gift was a giant cheese, weighing 900 pounds made by the women of Cheshire, Massachusetts.*

Jesus brought a far greater gift before a far greater ruler. The gift he brought was his own blood; the ruler was God the Father.

*This, and many other anecdotes appears in my book The Archbishop Who Killed a Man.

11:26 Grain for the Hungry

Sunday, August 21st, 2011

Francois Fenelon who opened his graneries

The people curse him who holds back grain, but a blessing is on the head of him who sells it. Proverbs 11:26

During the wars that ravaged Europe in his day, Francois Fenelon was renowned for his generosity and kindness to the wounded of both sides. Snubbed by the King of France, he returned good for evil, opening his granaries to his majesty’s starving men, and refusing any compensation.

This was but one example of his Christlike spirit. He bought medicines for the wounded, housed whom he could in his residence and rented houses to serve as hospitals for others. Friend and foe alike blessed him. There was in him none of that “let them eat cake” mentality which in a subsequent generation would cause the people to curse the French monarchy and behead their king and queen.

Fenelon went beyond the minimum requirements. In this he was like Christ. Jesus left his unspeakably glorious mansion for us. He opened the granaries of God by freely offering himself as the bread of life. While on earth, he shared the little he had in his money bag with the poor. And he yielded his very life for the lost.

25:14 False Gifts

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

Whoever boasts himself of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain.

The Death of Ananias by Masaccio.

The Death of Ananias by Masaccio.

One of the most terrifying stories in the Bible is that of Ananias and Sapphira. This pair sold a field, and held back some of the money, but wanting a reputation as great givers, pretended they had given the whole amount. There was nothing wrong with keeping some back. The sin lay in the pretense. God slew them, saying they had lied to the Holy Spirit. They had given a hypocritical gift, but God saw through it.

A man who lived not far from me gave a false gift of another sort. He gave his church large sums he could not afford, and when he had backed himself into a financial corner, attempted to stage an “accidental” death on his wife and children so he could collect their insurance. The fruits of his hypocrisy ruined himself and destroyed his family.

Christ’s giving, by contrast, was thoroughly genuine and cost him more than we can understand with our present knowledge.