As we enter into the month of November, we are closing in on a time of year when people will be giving gifts to those that they love. While it is nice to give to our family and friends, we should never lose sight that there are others outside of our families and circle of friends who are legitimately in need. Near the end of his visit with the elders in Ephesus, Paul reminded them, “I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). We might need to be reminded that one of the reasons that we work and earn money is so that we can help others. It is interesting to note that when Paul wrote “to the saints which are at Ephesus”, he explained, “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth” (Eph. 4:28).
Again, there is nothing wrong with giving those we love gifts, but are we forgetting that our wealth should also be used to aid those without? We must never lose sight that we are “blessed” for our generosity and benevolence. Again, it was Paul that taught “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:6-7). Can we really say that we are “cheerful givers”, or do we despise helping others? It is relatively easy to help those that are close to us, but what about those that are strangers? It was again Paul that wrote to Christians in Galatia teaching them “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Gal. 6:10). Notice carefully that our giving should include “all”.
We should do our diligence to keep our hearts open to every human being. With all of that being said, it is good also to understand that a man should be striving to earn his own living. In other words, a man should not be a “freeloader” taking advantage of the kindness of others. Once again we go to the writings of Paul to see, “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse that an infidel” (1 Tim. 5:8). Likewise, “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread” (2 Thess. 3:10-12). Also, “And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing” (1 Thess. 4:11-12).
So, as we enter that time of year when giving is amplified and celebrated, let us not forget that our giving should extend farther than our own homes and offices. There are real people who are experiencing real hurt and lack. When we remember and help them, we will experience a blessing that no amount of money can buy. In closing, we again are blessed to read the instructions given by Paul. “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life” (1 Tim. 6:17-19)