There is an ever-growing tension in our world today. It is a tension between two well meaning, but opposing views and it puts many of us in a tough place.
To help explain this tension let me tell you about my daughter for a moment. My little girl is a preschooler. From a place of love and affection I want to give her good things…I want to resource her with all that she needs. I’d love to believe that desire is just because I am a good dad, but really it is out of an overflow of the love and care that has been poured into me by God.
Now there are times that she looks at me and she demands that I give her things. It might be her water bottle, a blanket, a fruit pouch or any other number of things. She has seen me give these things in the past, and mistakes my loving action for entitlement. Perhaps you have run into this with a toddler before where they suddenly believe they are entitled to the things that you want to lovingly give to them. Something drastic changes on the inside when a person tells me what I am required to do for him or her. The outward action might look similar, but the heart of it all is changed when it is forcibly taken as an entitlement instead of received as a gift.
It is in those moments I feel pulled in two different directions. One part of me wants to be charitable no matter what. However there is something else, which wells up when you try to demand something of me – it is a desire to take that good and helpful gift and hang onto it instead of giving it away. What I once was inclined to give out of the goodness in my heart I now feel the desire to hang onto.
That battle wages in me every time my daughter demands something of me. I wish those were the only times the battle raged. The truth is that same tension is felt when a random person at our church tells me what the church entitles them to. That tension rises in me when the government tells me they need part of my income because there are people who are entitled to receive help.
Here is what I know to be true – God has provided enough resources to meet every need. In God’s economy those who have means are called to leverage what they have to help the under resourced… to serve those who have fallen down or behind. (Click to tweet) He also gives each of us the ability to have a charitable spirit where we look for and desire to help others. An internal battle wages when someone tries to take what should be a gift and turn it into an expectation.
So how do we deal with this tension? You recognize that this is an internal issue to address. When you start with a desire to do something good, don’t allow that desire to change simply because someone tries to require it of you. The book of James challenges us with these words, “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”
So chose to have a charitable spirit – it is the higher ground. Don’t allow outside pressure, rules or legislation dictate the internal posture of your heart. (Click to tweet)
One thought on “A Charitable Spirit is the Higher Ground”
Here in Australia we have an overburdened welfare system meaning no-one really lives in absolute poverty – so much so that multiple generations now expect their ‘entitlement’ by doing nothing. At the same time those with means can easily fall into just leaving the responsibility to government. This is in stark contrast to God’s instructions to the children of Israel in Deuteronomy 24: no gleaning your crops – leave it for the stranger, widow, fatherless…. they have to get out there and work to live. How different!