‘But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing’ (Matthew 6:3)
‘Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you’
(Matthew 5:42 NIV).
‘You Christians only do good because it makes you feel good,’ says every undergrad who’s just discovered Nietzsche. And they’re generally wrong. Most of the time, if you’re British, giving makes you feel faintly embarrassed and massively awkward.
Dear Lord, please don’t let them think that I think I’m better than them because I’m doing this. I should look him in the eye. Show that I truly see him. But not in a poverty tourism way. Aaaa!
I know. Cry me a river. But whether it’s giving to a person sleeping rough (with its practical, ethical and social complexity) or an organisation (with the attendant guilt for spending more on coffee than on charity), giving can easily feel horrific.
This may feel counter-intuitive (and, hey, on a leap day that’s OK), but I say let’s revel in the discomfort of giving. On this leap day, this strange gift of a day, why not take advantage of the discomfort and let it spur us to do something different from what we usually do – what we’re usually comfortable with, in terms of giving?
If you are a spontaneous, random act of kindness and personal touch giver, try something different today. Set up a boring direct debit to a charity that will never send you a sponsor letter. Better still, give to an institution so large there is no danger of them making you feel special. Support administration costs that make mission possible or the infrastructure that pulls nations from poverty. Think about Matthew 6:3 and separate your giving from what works best for you.
If you are an organised, researched, systematised giver, today’s a good day for you to break out too. Just give, without thinking. Without comforting control and predictability.
Decide today that if someone asks, you’ll give, Matthew 5:42 style.
Don’t argue. Just try it. It’s a special day.
Today's blog was written by Jonty Langley.
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