Chris' Original Blogbeque

A fresh, vinegar-based examination of life

Naive and generous

Posted by Chris on July 25, 2008

If I had to choose between being naive and generous, or discerning and stingy, I would take the former every time.

As much as I don’t want to be an enabler, it is preferable to paternalism in our personal relationships and patterns of generosity.

There are so many things we can give. The cry of the discerning and stingy, who “has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him” (1 Jn 3:17), is often a cover for an unwillingness to think outside the box or take the time needed to meet needs in a way besides giving spare change. The verse continues: “How can the love of God be in him?” The equivalent of deciding whether or not to give spare change to a drunk would have been God deciding whether or not to send good weather to sinful people in agrarian Israel. Jesus said that God “sends rain on the evil and the good”; in the same way, we should sow into those who are deserving and undeserving, those who will use the money wisely and those who will be wasteful.

Thankfully, God acts outside the realm not only of the deist imagination, or the sphere of the meteorologist, but in a way that penetrates into our deeper needs. He came to earth, sacrificing a good ol’ time in Heaven. Think about that when as we discern that “being somewhere” precludes us from being generous. When His people failed to meet the accepted standards of right and wrong, He came and offered the reward of the righteous to anyone who would accept, without them first having to reform their lives and “prove how serious they are.” Think about that when we listen to hear certain words to confirm someone’s intentions to really improve their life. And He did this in the context of seeing us fail again and again, accepting our charity and His promise of blessing, only to turn our backs and again run to a curse and death. Think about that when you get tired of seeing the same faces on the same corners.

The cry of the naive and generous is not a complaint. It is genuine tears, shed in empathy for those in need, or in a desire to themselves grow in compassion that they can love others unconditionally.

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