Word of the Week: Giving

Bit’s and Pieces magazine related a story about the American industrialist, Henry Ford, who was once asked to donate money for the construction of a new medical facility.

The billionaire pledged to donate $5,000. The next day the newspaper headline read, “Henry Ford contributes $50,000 to the local hospital.”

The irate Ford was on the phone immediately to complain to the fund-raiser that he had been misunderstood. The fund-raiser replied they would print a retraction in the paper the following day to read, “Henry Ford reduces his donation by $45,000.”

Realizing the poor publicity that would result, Ford agreed to the $50,000 contribution in return for the following: That above the entrance to the hospital was to be carved the biblical inscription: “I came among you and you took me in.”

While this account may be apocryphal, it is true that none of us want to be conned or coerced into giving something that we haven’t planned or purposed.

An often-repeated refrain heard during this time of year is “‘Tis the season for giving.” People are scurrying about buying Christmas gifts for their children, grandchildren, friends, and family members. While it can be a bit hectic, there is a spirit of joy and goodwill that fills our hearts. A feeling of felicity. An air of expectation.

Hopefully, our warm feelings come more from the joy of giving, rather than receiving. The apostle Paul reminds us of Jesus’ admonition, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Ax. 20:35). Think about why that is so.

Giving makes God happy. The Bible says, “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 8:1). The Lord delights in our prosperity when we use it unselfishly and ungrudging to serve Him and our fellow man.

Giving blesses other people. God can providentially use His people to meet others’ needs and to be a blessing. When God called Abraham, He promised that he would be a blessing to all nations (Gen. 12:2). Our giving can enrich, ennoble, and encourage others.

Giving shows love for our family and friends. Following Jesus’ resurrection of Lazarus, his sister, Mary anointed the feet of Jesus with a very expensive ointment. Some criticized her, suggesting it could have been sold and the proceeds, which would have amounted to a year’s wages, given to the poor. Jesus, however, quelled that criticism because Mary acted out of appreciation, love, and generosity. As one author suggested, “Sometimes love has the right to be extravagant.”

Giving makes us happy and generates contentment. Numerous studies have been conducted showing that people who cheerfully give of their time and money to worthy causes are happier, more contented, and feel a greater purpose in life. Being a modern-day Scrooge only produces misery, cynicism, and bitterness.

Giving blesses whether it’s a lot or a little. We don’t have to be millionaires to give, to bless, and be blessed. In fact, like the widow in Luke 21 who gave “two mites,” the one who gives a modest amount might be more richly blessed than one who gives millions. In fact, Harold Nye’s observation is probably accurate, “If you are not generous with a meager income, you will never be generous with abundance.”

Giving is the right thing to do. Ultimately, giving is not about the benefits. blessings, or rewards we receive. Goodness, giving and generosity ought to spring from a heart that’s humbled by God’s blessings. And feel a genuine desire to spread goodwill and share our prosperity.

Winston Churchill was right when said, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

 

1 Comment

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One response to “Word of the Week: Giving

  1. Pingback: Weekly Recap: December 5-10 | ThePreachersWord

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