At Christmas, thousands of us fill Samaritan’s Purse shoeboxes for children around the world. It’s a wonderful idea but the instructions sometimes astonish me.
Take this one for example. Note: Do not give used items. What! You have to tell people that? Yes you do. One day, a box fell open to reveal a dirty, burn-marked potholder. What child would want a potholder at all, let alone a worn out one?
Samaritans Purse asks us to enclose the money for shipping. Do you?
Ah, but don’t we look wonderful when we bring those boxes in to the collection center? Oh yes, we look sacrificing and holy for sure… but we are being deceitful and dishonest.
Beware the giving in false pretences.
“Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back? Run-of-the-mill sinners do that. If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal? Garden-variety sinners do that. If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that’s charity? The stingiest of pawnbrokers does that. (Luke 6:31, MSG)
Prayer – Lord, give us generous hearts when we give. Amen