Lessons on Giving

6/9/12  One of my father’s favorite stories involved giving.  My dad grew up a very poor country boy.   He worked shoveling gravel by hand in a pit at age 12 where he incurred a hernia.  He wore a truss until he was an adult and could have a surgical repair.  This sets the scene for his favorite story on giving.

As I pointed out he lived on a farm in the thumb area of Michigan.  You might know that the geographical hand print of Michigan is a mitten.  On this occasion he had taken a train to Detroit to visit his sister.  Upon getting off the train a beggar approached him asking, “Buddy, can you spare a dime?”  My father was not familiar with this sector of the  big city “labor force” dynamics.  My father naturally asked the pan handler, “What for?”.   The man responded, “None of your business!”   This of course concluded the requested transaction.  In amazement, my father moved on.

Requests for giving have not changed much over the years.  The parallel to my father’s introduction to big city commerce is played out in this day and age by television evangelists, especially those who teach “prosperity”.  These beggars also by their lack of financial accountability are saying, “None of your business”.  Their “pitch” is partially Bible based, “Give and it shall be given unto you…”   At that juncture they modify the quote to say, “”Send me money to me, and God will send you money.”  The Word does not specify the “send to me” declaration.   If these religious pan handlers were true to the scripture, they would tell their followers, that to really see the power of the Scripture, “Do not send me money, but send it somewhere else as God directs you”.  I have never heard that admonition.

The Bible teaches to give to the legitimately poor, as led by the Holy Spirit.  It teaches to give to those who are teaching you, which could be a radio or television teacher, but more likely your local church and pastor.  It teaches how much; 10% of the first of your income.  It teaches when; the time of the harvest, not some later convenient time.

To avoid going on too long on this subject I am always reminded, when confronted by a pan handler, of the scripture that says, “I have been young and I have been old and I have never seen the righteous or the sons of righteous beg for bread.”  This Word often balances any play on my conscience.

I like to give something away every day.  I like to GIVE ALL I CAN, rather than the “get all you can” philosophy.