June 20, 2022
“For you have been called to live in freedom – not freedom to satisfy your sinful nature, but freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command...”
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“For you have been called to live in freedom – not freedom to satisfy your sinful nature, but freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:13-14
Beginning on Thanksgiving and continuing through New Year’s Eve, an elderly man handed out $20 bills to strangers. He became known as the “Secret Santa.” Over the next 30 years, “Secret Santa” gave away almost 2 million dollars.
A few years ago, his identity was revealed. In a twist of tragic irony, the “Secret Santa” who had helped so many was himself in need of benevolence. He needed a kidney transplant and didn’t have enough money to pay for it.
For the cynics, this story is a confirmation of how idiotic philanthropy is. They say giving money without personal accountability or getting a tax deduction is terrible stewardship. Skeptics would say people should only work their way out of poverty. They would even say benevolence should only be left to professionals.
The cynics will no doubt fail to recognize how people worldwide rallied to pay for “Secret Santa’s” operation. So much money poured in that a fund has been set up to spend the excess. As a result, “Secret Santa” will end up giving more out of poverty than when he was rich!
“The next year the Egyptians came again and said, ‘Our money is gone and our livestock are yours. We have nothing left but our bodies and land. Why should we die before your very eyes? Buy us and our land in exchange for food; we will then become slaves to Pharaoh.’” Genesis 47:18-19a
As in the days of Joseph’s leadership in Egypt, people in America are selling themselves into bondage. They are enslaved to credit card and mortgage companies. America’s insatiable desire for “self” has driven it into slavery…even a government shutdown at the Federal level! The average American household maintains over $12,000 in credit card debt. Most of us can’t afford to give to the poor, even if we wanted to.
It reminds me of today’s passage. Compared to the World economy, most of America’s “impoverished” still possess considerable disposable wealth. God has blessed us with spiritual and financial wealth, not to waste it all on ourselves but to invest it in His Kingdom. When we use our freedom to satisfy ourselves, we become slaves to our desires. But if we love our neighbors as ourselves, the Lord (Who sees what is done in secret) will bless the faithful.
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