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22 August 2011

5 Things Jesus Taught That We Apparently Ought Not Take Literally (Part 4)

Day four: does Jesus' instruction on giving stand up to real-life scrutiny?

But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you." (Matthew 6:3-4, NLT)

Right off the bat, you'll probably realize that your left hand doesn't have eyes or a brain and neither does your right hand. Therefore we can know that this whole statement is intended as simply an emblematic thought. We can confidently deduce that Jesus didn't literally mean, "Give your gifts in private" when He said ,"Give your gifts in private."

Further, if we actually did give our gifts to the needy in private without letting anyone know about it, I wonder if we'd still be able to declare it on our income tax. In modern society, that's just what we do. And we're not actually doing it to get a return on our money; we're just keeping a good, solid record of our contributions (to be non-caustic for a moment, it's a very good thing to keep solid financial records and I am not suggesting otherwise). We always need to make sure we cover our own interests in case God drops the ball and doesn't reward us as Jesus said He would. You see, it might not be a monetary reward, and when we give money we should logically expect money back.

Another question: if we lived this way, would we still be able to get the occasional awesome free gift in exchange for our donation to such-and-such a ministry or charity? After all, human nature is such that in order for us to be reminded to give to needy people, we have to be given something in return. If we can't let anyone know about our gift, they won't know where to send the miracle spring water.

Finally, I don't think this applies at all to church building programs, although they're probably just as good as "giving to the needy." We should give with the expectation of a plaque with our name on it in order to be a good example of stewardship for other believers to see so that they, too will give to people in need the building program. Jesus may have forgotten about our giving being a good example to other people.

In case you didn't pick up on it for some reason, I'll close with a reminder that this post is delivered with sarcasm. This is not done to belittle anyone or throw stones; sometimes seeing ourselves through ridiculous lenses can point us toward truth.

1 comments:

Chris Rigoni said...

Epic Church has been on the news quite a few times regarding the work done after the tornadoes. Just to be clear, we did not advertise this work to the media. They approached the church with intent to do a story. Through the story, more money was raised to help the victims of the tornadoes. I'm not saying this as a rebuttal, I am saying it as a confirmation. There is no need to advertise because if you let your life be a witness, it WILL be noticed, and you don't have to SAY anything.

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