Beneficence is defined as “the doing of good; active goodness or kindness; charity.” Essentially, giving. Tis the season for giving, right? This December we celebrate God sending hope into our dark world through the birth of His Son Jesus. We take this month to remember that gift and impart it to our friends, family and loved ones. Giving, perhaps more than receiving, is such a joy. When we give the perfect gift, act of service or tender loving touch the joy experienced by everyone involved is infectious. I believe this is by design. In fact, The importance of this has been impressed upon me time and time again as of late. The importance has been stressed scripturally as well as practically.
Matthew 6:1 – Stresses the (1) Obligation “when you give” and (2) Discretion. We shouldn’t parade our giving.
1 Corinthians 16:2 – Stresses (1) The Habitual nature of giving and (2) The importance in giving in building up God’s family.
2 Corinthians 9:6-11 – Stresses (1) Generosity, (2) The pureness of motives, and (3) God’s promise of blessing.
2 Corinthians 8:2-5 – Stresses (1) The often sacrificial nature of giving.
Proverbs 3:27-28 – Stresses (1) The obligation to act and (2) Our bent toward apathy.
James 2:14-19 – Stresses (1) The importance of acting. Wanting to act does no one good.
1 Corinthians 13:3 – Stresses (1) the importance of motive…namingly LOVE.
I am not simply talking about giving to the church, though that is extremely important. I am talking about helping those who need it. This could be as simple as helping out a touring musician, a friend in need, a stranger make a phone call, buying a homeless individual a meal, or getting involved with deep social justice issues. Regardless the situation the need is the same. The need is TO ACT!
James says with incredible amounts of wisdom, saying you want to act is not enough. Anyone can say that he or she wants to act, but not everyone will. Saying to a homeless person on a rainy night, “stay warm and keep dry,” as I walk away has no benefit. On the other hand handing him an umbrella and giving him a jacket EVEN THE ONE OFF YOUR OWN BACK can speak volumes. Some will argue that not all homeless people want help and that some homeless people take advantage and use money for bad things. This may be true…but sometimes you have to put yourself out there, not knowing the outcome, and pray that God will use your gift for His glory.
I was a partaker in this same kind of charity while I was gone on tour several years back. It still blows my mind that over two months complete strangers gave me up to $250.00. They didn’t know me, they had no idea what I may have spent that money on, but they trusted God and acted on that trust. Because of them I was able to get through a two-month tour without going into debt. This is a huge feat (just ask anyone who has toured). These gifts meant the world to me and showed me the importance of sharing with others what God has blessed me with. I pray that as I progress, many of you will be partakers in that as well.
We have so much to give…. We have so much opportunity…. Why don’t we take it?
- We don’t know what is out there to give to.
- We feel we have ownership of these items.
- We feel entitled to the blessed life we live.
- Ignorance is no excuse; find things to give to, help the needy in your community and abroad.
- Often these things own us, not the other way around.
- We are not entitled to anything; we could have very well been born in a third-world country
We (I) need to stop focusing on what we deserve and focus on loving others. As DC Talk, the oft underrated 90’s hip hop pop group said “Love is a verb,” it is an action, and it implies sacrifice. Where is your sacrifice? Where is my sacrifice?
I am not saying I am amazing at doing this or saying anyone else is failing. This is something that has been on my heart, and I needed to get it out for others to hear. Hopefully you feel encouraged, challenged and spurned on to action.