Wednesday, March 04, 2009
GENEROUSITY, GIVING AND AFFLUENCE
I have been struggling lately with the concept of how much is enough and how much do we give to others. I read many passages on giving in the New Testament and realized that they were mostly about giving to those in need as opposed to giving to the church. For example, Luke 3:11 says "the man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same".
I have more than one tunic.
John Stott had a thought about it. He said:
"What does it mean for the affluent to develop a simple style of living? The truth is that concepts like 'poverty', 'simplicity' and 'generosity' are all relative and are bound to mean different things to different people.
For example, running water, let alone constant hot water, is regarded as a wonderful luxury by those who have to queue up for water at the village well, which sometimes
dries up. But in other parts of the world it can hardly be regarded as incompatible with a simple lifestyle.
Scripture lays down no absolute standards. On the one hand, it give no encouragement to an austere and negative asceticism, for it does not forbid the possession of the good gifts of our Creator. On the other hand, it implies that some measure of equality is more pleasing to God than disparity, and its appeal to believers to be generous is based on the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, because grace means generosity (2 Cor. 8:8-15)." The Lausanne Covenant: An Exposition and Commentary (Minneapolis: World Wide Publications, 1975), p. 24.
(the painting is Young Beggar by Murillo)