Meanderings of a Minister


Give Until It Hurts
July 23, 2015, 2:45 pm
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Give

I have been recently challenged by reading some of the more familiar accounts in the Gospels of Jesus and the way He lived His life.  As I have been reading over some of this, I came across the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10.  I realize we all know the story, but perhaps it might be prudent to look at the story again:

Luke 10:30–37 (NASB95)

30 Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. 31 “And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 “Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 “But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, 34 and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 “On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’ 36 “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?37 And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”

Now, here is what caught me up.  Verse 35 says he used up his supplies to care for the man and then paid for a room in the inn.  After all of that, he stayed the night with the man to make sure he was okay and then the next day, he paid two full days’ wages to make sure that the man would be taken care of.  He also promised to come back and check to make sure he had recovered and pay any additional amount that had accrued for his treatment.

As I read that, I was challenged to ask, “When have I ever given so much that it hurt?”  This man gave much.  Yes, he gave time.  I get that.  I do that.  Yes, he gave concern.  I get that, also.  I do that, also.  Yes, he gave care.  I get that.  I do that.  What I was struggling with was that the Samaritan gave sacrificially.  He interrupted his life to make sure that the man beaten and left for dead could have one.  When have I ever given to the point that my life had to be interrupted?  When have I given financially to the point that I could not do or have something I wanted; let alone, something I needed?  When have I given financially to the point that I had to shut off some of the comforts of my incredibly comfortable life?

As I thought about these things, I went on to ask the same questions about my church, about the rest of us that make up my church, and the rest of Christianity throughout North America.  In the New Testament, this was common.  Paul took up offerings from poor Christians to help other poor Christians.  Barnabas sold his land so that the church could help people.  I have never even done anything even close to that!

So, having felt the sting of conviction, I found myself wanting to justify my inaction by saying, “But the Paul told the Thessalonians, in 2 Thessalonians 3:10, that people shouldn’t eat if they don’t work.”  How do I know if my help is enabling them instead of helping them?  I mean, I have to be a good steward of God’s money, right?  While these arguments sound good on the surface, I knew that they were justifications of sin.  James said that when someone knows the good they ought to do and do it not, that is sin.  I was sinning and wanting to seem like I was doing okay.

I have had to repent and have surrendered all I have and own to God and He has tested me just this week to see if I would give until it hurts.  It is not fun on the front end, but he has promised to provide and I am trusting Him to do so.

So…what about you?

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