17th May 2011

Give From The Heart

“Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. So he called His disciples to Himself and said to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.’”
Mark 12:42-44 (NKJV)

Now don’t let me discourage you from being generous and responding to those charity advertisements on TV and in the press. But bear in mind that big business ideas are behind those adverts—they are seeking to manipulate your heartstrings. The crying child staring out to the camera was coached in how to cry on demand. The big-eyed dog who stares unblinking at you is meant to stir your conscience. And even Harvey, the dog who has his own video and packed case ready to be adopted, is a star of many doggie film situations.

The many examples of helping the destitute, the sick, and the bereaved in the New Testament all centre around Christ being there at the time to help. When Christ told the story of the Good Samaritan, it was because a Pharisee wanted to wriggle out of loving his neighbour. “But who is my neighbour?” he asked (Luke 10:29). At the end of the story the Pharisee was forced to answer that it was the Samaritan who showed mercy on someone who needed mercy (verse 36) and Jesus’ reply is telling us to, “Go and do likewise.”

Yes, it’s good to help the big charities that have the glossy presentations. But it is even better to help wherever and whenever we have the opportunity. Yes, it was a different age; and Jesus said we’d have the poor with us always, but with Jesus it was always personal.

My point? We can provide help and we can ease our consciences by sending off a cheque, but doing good isn’t dependent on deep pockets; it’s dependent on opportunity. And opportunities are all around us.

Loving Father, it is so easy to hide ourselves from the love of others that you call us to. We can throw money at problems, and we can ease our consciences with a cheque. But you want us to love one another as you loved us and that was selflessly, as opportunity presented itself. Help us to recognise those opportunities when they come our way. In Jesus’ name we pray.

Study by John Merchant 

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