Do You Trust Jesus Enough to Give Without Exchange?


Today’s Reading — Ecclesiastes 5:10 — He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income. This too is vanity.

In his Hebrew teaching for this day, Skip Moen (atgod’ quoted an ancient Indian poet who said — The only gift is giving to the poor. All else is just exchange. Have you ever given someone a $20.00 gift and received a $100.00 gift from them that arrived with an unexpected sense of guilt that your gift was insufficient? That comparison couldn’t exist if the giving wasn’t really just an exchange.

Jesus said — But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing… The obvious implication of this instruction is to give quietly and not seek credit for your charity. If you seek or allow credit, the giving is gain reduced to exchange. It isn’t really a matter of secrecy, but rather of motive. If we give within a thin veil of secrecy so we will receive acclamation, we haven’t really given at all. If we give in an effort cloaked in humility and yet get found out, our motive is still right, and our giving is seen by God, who reads the heart, as properly motivated. Guzik wrote — Instead, our giving is to be – if it were possible – even hidden from ourselves. Though we cannot really be ignorant about our own giving, we can deny any indulgent self-congratulation.

If you have no food for days and drink only water, no matter how much water you consume, you will still be hungry. Your thirst will be satiated, but your hunger will grow. If we pridefully consume the acclimation of others for our giving, our left hand always knows that our right hand never really gave, and we will not be satisfied. Likewise the accumulation and consumption of money will never satisfy us in the way we will be satisfied by properly motivated giving. God designed us as members of our communities, yet we often attempt to live lives of comparison against our neighbors, separated by our financial differences.

As the value of what I have falls, it would be easy to excuse myself from God’s giving paradigm. If I allow myself to focus on maintaining my own mercenary minimum, I have aborted myself from God’s community. I can either maintain my minimum or give as God calls me to, but not both. This is not a fiscal issue. It is an issue of faith. Do I trust God enough to give in the face of my own perceived lack, allowing Him to set my minimum and provide, or do I trust my own hope of hoarding enough to see me through? I cannot do both at once.

Consider your giving motivation. Are you really giving, or just exchanging? Does your giving point to Jesus or to yourself? Are you an accumulator or a distributor? Are you caught up in the necessity to judge the person in need as a means to excuse or reduce your giving? God judges the giver on their giving and the receiver on their receiving. Neither needs to judge the other.

Do you trust Jesus enough to give away what you think you need?

Copyright 2008 © Stephen Faulkner and Mission of the Master Ministries, Inc.


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