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From The Chaplain's Desk
From The Chaplain's Desk: A Fair Balance

By Charles Dimmick, CT State Grange Chaplain

  August 10, 2018 --

Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.

Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.” (2 Corinthians 8: 11-15)

In the above passage Paul is asking the Church at Corinth to share what they have in abundance with those who are in want, and stressing that he is not asking them to give so much that they themselves will be found wanting but rather that since they have enough for themselves it is appropriate that they give all that is in excess of their actual needs to those who do not have enough. There is no promise of special blessing in giving of their abundance; rather the implication is that such giving is an obligation, something that is expected. He wishes that there be a fair balance.

There is a similar theme that is to be found in Grange ritual, in the ceremony for the Third Degree, where the harvester is urged to share the abundance of the harvest.

The philosopher Immanuel Kant in his “Lectures on Ethics” states that “A man ought not to be flattered for his acts of charity lest his heart swell with generosity and desire to make benevolence the sole rule of his conduct” I’m not sure that Kant had Paul’s letter to the Corinthians in mind when he wrote that, but he goes  on to suggest that in giving of one’s abundance one is helping to balance justice, in that if God has given you much you are obligated to share with those who have little.

One last quote, from Jesus himself, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” (Luke 12: 48).



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