Giving as Lifestyle of a Christian
By Rev. Joseph C. Ibekwe
The quality of your life is measured by how you give than how much you get. Giving is a holistic practice that should not be boxed in the confines of money. In fact, money is a very small aspect in the giving equation; sometimes, money is last thing to give. The reason is that money is what anyone can have. You don’t need to be a christian person to have money or to give it out lavishly.
There are other critical aspects of the giving equation that are often not reckoned with, because our society has reduced almost everything to money transactions; of course, money is important in human transactions.
If you read the story of the Good Samaritan that Jesus told in the book of St. Luke’s Gospel 10: 30-37, you will notice that the Samaritan gave ten things to the man beaten by thrives. Money was the last thing he gave. This is illustrated in verses 33-35.
1. He saw a wounded man
He took notice of a person in difficult situation. This is a precious gift – noticing someone going through challenges. How many times are we do tied up with ourselves that we don’t notice others; their tears, their pains, their struggles, their loneliness?
2. He had compassion on him.
This is one of the greatest gifts of all. Compassion is a heart attitude that identifies with someone in their situation or predicament. How often do you put yourself in someone else’s place or shoes to feel what they feel; to imagine how they are coping with loss of loved one, a job, a relationship; how they are dealing with issues confronting them?
3. He went to him
The Priest and Levite saw the wounded man, but proceeded on their ministerial journey. The prove of compassion is action. The Samaritan went to wounded stranger to identify with him, to what help he could offer. How often do you to take personal liberty to visit someone you heard is down and broken; to check out what you can do to raise them up again?
4. He bound up his wounds
Maybe the thieves broken his arm or inflicted injuries that opened his body for blood to flow. The Samaritan used his own materials to bind his wounds, perhaps to stop the flow of blood. How often do get across to a wounded fellow to offer help? Wounded in body, wounded emotionally, wounded spiritually? Jesus said, the spirit of the Lord is upon me, and he has sent me to ” bind up the brokenhearted”.
There are so many heartbroken people around us today: in our offices, neighbourhoods, churches, how many wounds are you binding up?
5. He poured oil and wine
The Samaritan man give him, first aid treatment. Oil to soothe the pains, wine to attack the germs. Seeing someone in pains is not enough. What immediate remedies, within your capacity, can you offer someone in difficult situation. At any point in our lives, there is always something you can do for another person. Give your own first aid.
6. He set him on his beast
He carried him into his car, hired a vehicle to convey him out of that dangerous spot. How often have you seen someone struggling helplessly, and you just drove off, continued on your way, or couldn’t care less? It may not directly be your fault that you could help, may the law may hinder you from helping, but mercy supersedes the law.
7. He took him to an inn
He took him to a place of recuperation and refreshing. Notice that he didn’t really take him to his house, but to a place where the wounded man could receive professional help. Think of this. When was it that you heard someone is sick or challenged on anything issue and you took the pains to refer them to where they can help, beyond what you can offer?
8. He took care of him
He attended to his needs. He clean him up, probably changed his clothes. This is practical involvement in someone else’s life. How often do we prefer to staff aloof or stay back, out of the situation someone around us passing through?
9. He stayed overnight with the wounded man
He cut short his journey to attend to the need of a stranger. The man was left half dead, as the story said. Maybe he was in coma. The Samaritan decided to stay overnight to watch him pick up before he could continue on his journey. Our lives are a journey. Some times, we may need to pause our trip just to give someone a helping hand, before we continue. You may need to delay personal pleasures to accommodate the need of someone else. This is what makes us humans.
10. He paid for his upkeep
He gave the innkeeper, two pence for the time and expenses incurred on the man so far, and promised to settle any outstanding bills on his way back.
Notice that money exchange is the last thing the Samaritan gave to help the wounded man. Money is important in our lives, but money is not always the first gifts we should to those in need.
Each of the ten items listed here are a part of the giving continuum. Money is just one portion. Today is our environment and even in the Church, the gift that often attracts the attention of those of us in leadership is the gift of money – tithes, offerings, special seed money, projects financial supports. The other aspects of giving are rarely reckoned with.
That’s why, there is paucity of compassion among us. We define our relationships based on money – how much you give, how regularly you give! Is it good to give this money? Yes! But that is just a small aspect of our giving lifestyle.
Let’s return to a holistic life of giving, not just in monetary terms, but in the giving of ourselves to help pull others out of difficult situations.
Anytime in church you hear some say, ‘I am a giver or he/she is a giver? What comes to your mind? The money they give in support of the church! Isn’t it?
Finally, notice that Samaritan never asked the wounded man about his religion or ethnicity! He didn’t ask whether he was a New or Gentile; in our time, whether he was a christian or Muslims? He only a “human being” in need of help; and he proceeded to do what he could without discrimination. That’s the way our God operates. He gives good things to all, without discrimination.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son…..”
Let’s give to others in need, not because we belong to the same church denomination, tribe or group. By the way, everyone of us is in need and we are all needy in one area of life or the other.
When you see a brother/sister or family going through challenges, give them a call, chat then up, visit them, refer them to where they can get further help, give them money, the much you can afford. Just give something.
We are better off through holistic giving.
Be a giver!
Joseph C. Ibekwe
Lead Pastor, Graced Family Chapel, Abuja.