by Arnold Nelson


A frank look at Giving.

Giving is easy isn't it just hand out money to who ever needs it or whatever charity you think sounds good. Is it really that easy? let's examine giving a little bit and see what this giving thing is really all about.

First let's look at some of the things that Jesus said about giving:

In Matthew 19:21-23 Jesus said this:

"If you want to be perfect go and sell everything you have and give the money to the poor and you will have treasures in heaven, and come, follow me." But when the young man heard this, he went away sadly, for he was very rich. Then Jesus said to his disciples, " It is almost impossible for a rich man to get in the kingdom of heaven. I say it again-- it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven."

In Matthew 25:35-40 Jesus says:

"For I was hungry and you fed me; I was thirsty and you gave me water; I was a stranger and you invited me into your home; naked and you clothed me; sick and in prison and you visited me. then these righteous ones will reply, 'Sir, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you anything to drink? Or a stranger and helped you? or naked and clothe you" when did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?', and I, the King, will tell them, when you did this to the least of my brothers you were doing it to me."

John 12 :3-8 says

Then Mary took the jar of costly perfume made from the essence of nard and anointed Jesus' feet with it and wiped them with her hair and the was house filled with fragrance. But Judas Iscariot; one of his disciples-the one who would betray him-said, "That perfume was worth a fortune. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor." Not that he cared for the poor but he was in charge of the disciples' funds and often dipped into them for his own use. Jesus replied, "Let her alone she did it in preparation for my burial. You will always help the poor, but I won't be with you very long."

These words came from the Living Bible. The Living Bible is my favorite translation.

There's no shortage of people or charities that want your money, some of them want the money only for themselves. They use names of charities and disasters as ways of getting you contribute to them. There are some charities that have a high overhead so only a fraction of what you donate actually goals where you think it will. Then there are the few good charities with low overhead and most of the money they take in goes where they tell you it's going to go, to help people in need. I will not try to tell you which charities are good or bad but I will mention one of my favorite charities. It is the Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army was founded in 1865 in England. It was founded to help the street people, the ones nobody wanted, the drunks, drug users and prostitutes. All the money that their stores makes from the donations they receive go back into the local communities to help drunks drug users and prostitutes. They are willing to help any of the street people that are trying to make a better life for themselves and clean themselves up. They have a very low overhead so almost everything they take in goes to help the needy.

During the 1950s and 60s there were a lot of people on television who claim to be Christians. They were good at raising money. Most had big fancy churches that they preached from. Through the years most of them got in trouble in one way or the other. Some of them even landed in jail. There is one evangelist by the name of Billy Graham. He held revivals for almost 60 years. I have never heard one bad thing about him.

He along with his friend Cliff Barrows who was a music director and another friend George Beverly Shea (who had big beautiful baritone voice) ran those revivals. George was always doing solos. George once said he would sing any time Billy wanted him to but he would not preach. Billy said "You don't have to preach I will do the preaching." They never had a big church they used wherever space they could find sometimes football fields or baseball parks or even empty lots. Their revivals were held in over 185 countries. Billy Graham retired about 2003. George Beverly Shea kept singing until he was 102. He died in 2013 at the age of 104. Cliff Barrows died in 2016 at the age of 93. Billy Graham is still around enjoying his retirement he turned 99 in 2017.

Billy Graham's son Franklin Graham took over the organization when Billy retired. He doesn't do much preaching but he keeps everything else going. He also took over Samaritan's Purse when Dane Cook the founder passed away in 1990. For those of you don't know Samaritan's Purse. It is well known for two things. First they send help and money wherever there is a disaster. They also run Operation Christmas Child. Every year with the help of churches all around the country they collect 1000s of shoe boxes full of little presents for children around the world that don't have anything.

I have decided to add one more Scripture to this story. It is found in Luke 21: 1-4

As Jesus stood in the Temple he was watching the rich tossing their gifts into the collection box. Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small copper coins. "Really," he remarked, "This poor widow has given more than all the rest of them combined. For they have given a little of what they didn't need, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has. (The Living Bible)

It is easy to give when you have a lot more than you can ever use. It is hard to give when you don't have much to live on. I know people who do give everything they can. I know I probably could give more but I don't because so many other things come up that I need the money for.

I would like to tell you about one lady she was born in March of 1820 and died almost 95 years later in February of 1915. When she was six months old a quack doctor treated her and gave her medicine that was too strong and took her eyesight. Some people say she was born blind. It could have happen either way. Fanny Crosby was known for saying she is glad she could not see for if she could see she could not get done all the work that God wanted her to do. She wrote somewhere between 8000 and 9000 hymns along with several books of poetry and many nonreligious songs. She is known for being the most prolific hymn writer in history. You would think with all those hymns, her books and everything else she would have a decent income, but many of the publishers cheated her and didn't pay her as much as they should have for her music. She didn't complain she was happy with what she got. She used most of what she got to help the poor people in New York City. She lived in one of the poorest areas of New York City and spent as little as possible on herself. She gave the rest away to help those whom she considered more needy than herself.

There is another way to give. You can give your time and talents. Churches are always looking for help. There are many other places that also rely on volunteer help. It is not as easy to give up several hours of your time to help as it is to reach into your wallet and pull out some money and hand it over to some charity. It is more rewarding though. Now that I'm retired I donate some of my time to the local hospital. I go into the NICU and hold the little babies. I can't believe how much I get out of holding those little babies. After all where else would an old man like me get a chance to hold babies. It keeps the babies calm, and when babies are calm, they get better faster. The nurses like it because it's one less baby they have to worry about while I'm holding it. The parents like it become someone is holding their baby when they can't be there to do it. So it is a win, win, win, win situation. If you were to look around a little bit I'll bet you could find many places they could use your talents and would love to have you volunteering and helping them.

There is another way to give. You can give support to somebody. When I was growing up I never got much support from my father, but my mother was always telling me "I am very proud of you." My adopted mother always told me how proud she was of me too. One day after church she said "I don't care if you stand up in front of the church and do nothing. I will still be very proud of you."

I try not to miss an opportunity to tell someone how proud I am of them and how much I love them especially when they're hurting and in need. I have one niece, who, 3 1/2 years ago with living on the street and into drugs and alcohol. She lost her four children. She was very upset and angry. I was on Facebook with her. One day I was just about to unfriend her because I was tired of her angry tirades. God spoke to me that day and he said "Don't do it, she is about to change, when she changes she will need your help." So I did not unfriend her and sure enough within a week or so she started calming down. Now three years later she is doing very well. She just celebrated 3 years of clean leaving. She has her four kids back and is doing a very good job raising them. Last I heard from her she was trying to buy a house. I hope it all works out for her because I love her very much and want only the best for her.

So you see even if you don't have money to give. You can give time and support. Time and support can be more valuable than money. I am not a poet I have written two poems in my life first one was not all that good. But this one I have gotten a lot of praise and a lot of good remarks about it, so I will end with it. This poem came to me late one night after I was in bed. I thought it was so good I had to get out of bed and put it on Facebook right away for my goddaughter. So that I would not forget to do it. This poem is called "The Gift."

What do you give a girl who is like a daughter to you?

When you want to give her everything.

What do you give a girl who is like a daughter to you?

When you barely have enough to support yourself.

What do you give a girl who is like a daughter to you?

You tell her you love her and keep on telling her.

What do you give a girl who is like a daughter to you?

You tell her how proud you are of her.

When she falls (and she will).

You gave her your hand and and help her up.

You give her a shoulder to lean on,

and tell her again how proud you are of her

and next time it will work.

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