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From The Chaplain's Desk
From The Chaplain's Desk: True Giving
 

By Charles Dimmick, CT State Grange Chaplain

  December 6, 2017 --

As the Christmas season approaches we may look forward to exchanging gifts with friends and family, certainly a very worthwhile custom, but there is danger in confusing this activity with true Christian giving. In Luke 14 Jesus has strong advice as to what true giving consists of. He states:

When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.

There is another aspect of true giving that one should strive for, that of anonymity. Beware of giving for the purpose of being lauded for your generosity. Part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, as recorded in the sixth chapter of Matthew, states:

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

In modern times we are able to fulfill the spirit of this last injunction by giving through our churches and various charities, so that our gift is anonymous at least to the recipient, certainly more convenient than the method of delivery used by the original St. Nicholas, who according to legend secretly delivered three bags of gold to the home of a poor man so that he could give dowries to his daughters. This is said to be the origin of the European custom of leaving out a pair of shoes for St. Nicholas to fill with gifts. It is also often given as the model for anonymous giving. Let us also follow these precepts and examples by true Christian giving this holiday season.

 

 
 
 

 
     
     
       
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