We live in an age where we think we are entitled to all sorts of things. At least, that’s the way it is in North America. In fact, I believe that the cancer of entitlement is far more reaching than our North American society. Selfishness is innate to every human being, and we have a propensity to feel that we have “rights” to oh.so.many things.
In North American society, however, those things we feel entitled to seem a great deal more extravagant than most other societies. Some such things may be; a house, a vehicle per adult, 3 square meals a day, a vacation etc. The list goes on.
Because we feel we are entitled to these things, they often become the goals, and object of our pay checks. This is where we enter dangerous territory.
We must remember that we don’t own anything. In fact, scripture states that we don’t even own ourselves. God does. So much for entitlement!
The things that we have have been given to us. We are not owners, we are stewards, and stewardship is a grave responsibility… especially considering to whom these resources belong.
So, naturally, we must consider God’s desire as to how we should be distributing “our” resources.
Does God want us to be benevolent?
Scripture says a lot on this topic. I chose only a few verses to share:
Gal 6:10 says, “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”
Acts 20:35, “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.”
Prov 28:27, “He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse.”
Jas 2:15-17, “If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”
Prov 3:27-28, “Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and to morrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee.”
Our Responsibility in Benevolence
So we see that our compassionate giving, or benevolence, is certainly the desire of God.
Gal 6:10 states that as we have opportunity we ought to do good unto all, and especially christians, who are in need. Prov 3:27-28 says not to withhold good… when it is in our power to do it.
Let us remember that giving is not just for the rich. The more we have, the more we should give, true. But, when we give out of our poverty, that is a sacrifice that is well pleasing to the Lord.
I think we have clarified our responsibility to benevolence. Now, let’s talk about how we can give benevolently.
How Can we Give Benevolently?
We pay our mortgage, because we plan for it. In the same way we pay for our groceries, gas, utilities, and medical bills. We call this kind of planning, budgeting. If we didn’t budget for our monthly mortgage fee, we might find that we cannot afford it when it is due. This would be poor stewardship.
As in all other resources, we also must prioritize in our spending. We can afford our mortgage and groceries because we have prioritized these things.
Where does benevolence rank in your spending priority list? Is it after your Starbucks and spa budget? Does it make it on your list at all?
I don’t know what your budget looks like. But, what if benevolence were to directly proceed all the “required fields” such as mortgage, utilities and groceries. What if we plan for benevolence?
How many times has someone come to your door (or other) with a good, no, an excellent cause, and you were unable to give? With all your heart you wanted to, and you sent them on their way in peace (Jas 2). Guilt came shortly thereafter, and maybe you even called to remembrance the things that took precedence over giving. You didn’t intend them to, but they did anyway.
I know I have been there! But, it doesn’t have to be that way. Not if we plan ahead. Not if we plan it in our budget. There are times when we can budget for it. I call it a “benevolence fund”. There are times, however, when we cannot budget for it (such as times of transition or loss of job etc.). During the tight times, it may still be possible to set aside extra jobs, where the income is intended specifically for benevolence, and often for a specific cause.
As we have the opportunity and resources, let us be sure to do good to all people. Remember, he who gives to the poor will not lack!
Causes are seemingly endless, some good, and some not. What are some ideas of worthy causes you have been able to give to? Whether it be a program, a charity or a person. I would love to hear your story of how God has used you to make a difference in this way!