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Christian Counseling - Boundaries of Giving

On our Facebook page (Christian Counseling & Relationship Development, The Center for) I post "A DAILY SLICE OF LIFE." Today's quote and comment is about giving as an antidote to coveting. There are many, many good things that can be said about giving. But, of necessity, we all should ask, "Can giving ever be the wrong?"

Certainly, you will find little to nothing written or spoken about the cons of giving, be it time, talent or material goods. After all, we are told to freely give because we have freely received. We are to give to him who asks and not refuse a borrower. Scripture glorifies the widow's mite, giving all she had. In Acts, we find the early church shared all their goods with each other. And Jesus gave to and encouaged giving to the poor. He even gave the ultimate, His life, for our reconciliation with God. How could anyone ever discourage giving or charge a giver with guilt? It appears giving is always in season in every situation, and, if our feelings are uncooperative, we are pelted with criticisms of being selfish.

But that is not the end of the story. Consider just a few verses and views:

1. "Do not give what is holy to dogs" or "throw your pearls before swine" (Matthew 7:6).
2. Jesus did not often give the plain truth, but spoke in parables. He said to his disciples that the knowledge of the mystery of the kingdom of heaven was granted to them, but not to others (Mark 4:11,12).
3. "...if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either" (2 Thessalonians 3:10). We don't give food (or money or anything) to just anyone because he or she does not have it.
4. God does not give us everything we ask for, unless it is according to His will (Mark 6:23). In like fashion, we do not give just anything to anyone who asks.
5. Do we not use discernment in giving? Do we not validate the integrity of a person and his or her need before giving? In tithing, do we not first check out the credibility of a Christian organization (i.e., and insist that a high percentage (about 80%) of every donation go directly to the needy?

Life is complex and so is every situation, even the act of giving. God expects us to be thinkers, to ask questions, seek the deeper truth and not settle for the ease of simplicity.


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