Today was particularly challenging for me. I took an early breakfast at a local diner and I felt conveniently compassionate. The waitress seemed like she was on her ‘last leg’. I left her a big tip. I was in a generous mood and the food and service was well above average. After all, it was not enough money that I would miss it, and she could obviously benefit from it.
Then, I went to the local Thrift Store to dump off clothes that I had outgrown or had gone out of style. It was a big box of stuff most of which I had forgotten I even had. I wouldn’t miss them anyway.
I saw a man begging on the street. ‘Pour soul’, I thought. For once, this one looked legitimate to me, and since I had passed up several others who looked like con men, I decided to reach in my pocket and sort through the lint and pull out some coins. I would not miss it so it was not worth counting.
When I got home, wouldn’t you know it!?! Yet another bleeding heart request in the mail to help yet another overseas agency feeding the poor. I have been feeding these people for years. Aren’t they full yet? I made out a check and made sure the carbon copy came through and the memo was clearly written. I then photocopied the check for my records. I wanted to make sure how much I was giving because when tax time comes…, I might forget and miss it.
I am a very generous man. I just don’t believe in sacrifice. I give just enough to say I gave…, but not necessarily enough to make a real difference.
I will empty my refrigerator to feed the poor, as long as my cupboards are full. I will empty my storage bins to provide furniture for others, at least so I can fit the stuff from my garage in its place. I will empty my bank accounts, just as long as I know my next week’s paycheck is coming. I am generous…, but not sacrificial.
God does not work that way. Imagine if He had sent the world a gift that He would not miss. He sent His only begotten Son. This was not an act of generosity, but an act of sacrifice.
Next time I give…., I should miss it. I should feel the effect of what I give. It should inconvenience me. It should make me feel very uncomfortable. Otherwise, I am just being generous.
Give sacrificially as God your Father has done.
For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.