If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God's love? It disappears. And you made it disappear. My dear children, let's not just talk about love; let's practice real love. This is the only way we'll know we're living truly, living in God's reality. - 1 John 3:17-19, The Message
I've read the story that Schnase references in today's devotional before and it touched me when I read it then, just as it did today. As a pastor of a church that receives visits from people seeking assistance, I know what the pastor in the story is going through when trying to determine what to do for those who come in. I, too, have devised policies and procedures for dealing with them and I must admit that some of the policies and/or procedures have made God's love disappear.
The words of the janitor always give me pause when considering what to do with those who come to the church asking for assistance: "I give them a little money and say, God bless you, because I figure that they are some mother's son, some father's child, and so I give them something. What they do with the money - well, they have to answer to God about that. I have to answer to God about what I do with mine" (34).
We will all answer for what we do with our money in this life. When we release our finances into God's hands, there is the potential that it will be wasted by those who receive it, but there is the potential that it will bless untold numbers of people because you gave it away. Either way, you are only responsible for what you do with your money, not for what those who receive it do with it.
Questions for Reflection:
1) Have you ever witnessed an extraordinary and unexpected act of generosity?
2) How has another person's generosity influenced your own practice of giving?
3) Who is learning from your examples of generosity?