The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor. Proverbs 22:9

Society tells us that there is blessing in riches. Oh, we don’t say it out loud of course. We say “It’s more blessed to give than receive.” We say “Money can’t buy happiness”. The reality is, businesses spend millions of dollars each year in advertising with glitzy signs, clever slogans and the famous ‘Super Bowl Ads’ all in effort to tempt our insatiable palate  which constantly screams for more!

How many times have you said, or at the very least thought, “If I win the lottery I’ll…”

The reality doesn’t match up with the practice all too often. Unfortunately, it seems to be true more in the Christian realm than I’m comfortable with. In our defense, generosity is risky. Part of the problem is defining ‘the poor’. Jesus said we’ll always have the poor with us. He commends those who give even a cup of water to the needy for their thoughtfulness.

In those honest moments we have to admit that there are many people with very little who are actually very rich in character. They are the ones who work hard to try to get ahead but just never seem to make it happen. They are the ones who struggle with a variety of health issues. They are the ones who would give you the shirt off their backs…if they had one.

generosity 10.6.15Then there are those who are, for lack of a better term, are leeches. They have discovered that they can actually make a pretty good living by taking whatever they can get. It is these people who are, in a sense, poor twice. They are the ones who take advantage of our generosity and use us. Within non-profit, and especially ministry circles, they are the ones we look out for because they will use our resources without any conscience.

The struggle of my heart is this. Was Jesus ever concerned about being taken advantage of? Did he ever scrutinize those in need as to their character? The reality is, I think not. He didn’t put any stipulations on who benefitted from his generosity.

When you give, do you give according to your perception of the need or do you give in the name of Jesus. Do you give the cup of water to the thirsty when they are capable of getting it themselves or do you hold back and judge their character.

Often, as I write this blog I try to leave us with answers. But today I must confess I have none. I see the dangers of being taken advantage of, but I see the example of a Savior who was unconcerned about motive. Ten lepers went away healed. Only one had the character to return and say thank you.

PRAYER: Father, we confess to you today that we often hold too tightly to what you’ve given us because of our penchant for determining need from a human perspective. Help us have open minds and open hearts to give to those with open hands as you would have us give. Amen.

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