We live in a world where giving is done from a distance. We have charity associated credit cards that give on our behalf at a fee. We can give into projects that help people, donating clothes, food and whatever we don’t want anymore, without actually meeting the people. We can even send a SMS, the cost of which goes to a specific cause.
There is no need to get involved in other people’s messy lives and we have a clear conscience that we are giving to the poor and needy. Our giving cocoons us in a happy bubble of I have done the right thing.
Here is someone who is different. She is an effective and productive person, an organiser and a deal-maker. She knows how to do business, turn a profit and sniff out value, she is working hard and respected by those that know her. She has character qualities that cause her husband to have complete confidence in her judgement and her children go about telling of the blessing she is to them. Strength and dignity are the words that describe her and people come to her to hear what she would say to them. She fears the Lord.
What a remarkable woman she is! Besides the above, she is known for her compassion. “She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hand to the needy.” Proverbs 31:20
She doesn’t just write a cheque or endorse a charity, this woman engages in the lives of those around her who are suffering. She knows them, touches them and is familiar with how they live and what difficulties they face. She opens her arms and extends her hands.
She is in relationship with the needy.
God didn’t send a representative to us to help us when we were in need. There weren’t angels to do the work of forgiveness, a video suggesting the help we needed, but God generously sent His own Son to meet our need. He effectively sent Himself to meet the needs of a lost people, offering His body on our behalf. A generous life recognises that it is not just money that is involved, but relationship, being bodily involved in the gift given.
The generous person is present amongst those to whom they give.
So I have been challenged to not merely give, but to ask questions, get involved. The next time you are tempted to roll the window down and give a coin, or slice of bread, find out more about the person you are giving to. The next time you happily put money in an envelope and give it into a box, how about asking a few questions about the work that is being done, visiting the work and offering your time and talent.
Getting involved in the reality of the lives of other people will cost you and me. It may get messy and be inconvenient and the reality of their lives may not sit easy on our minds. It cost Jesus to get involved in meeting our needs.
All giving cannot be done from a distance. Else it is just a token to appease our conscience.
In reality, when we get involved in our giving, become present among those we are giving to, then we are beginning to understand what the true meaning of sacrifice is.
Lord help me to look at doing my giving amongst the people I know. Help me be sensitive to the needs around me, help me to ask questions and get involved in what is happening in their lives. Help me to bless others with my giving and not just appease my conscience. I know it will cost me time, emotions, resources and getting involved, but this pales in comparison to the sacrifice You made Jesus for me.