When to give

by Andrea Elizabeth

I think we are to have an attitude that we don’t own what we have. But this shouldn’t be mindless if you have a family, imo. I believe someone like Rich Mullins who didn’t want anything he earned could live in poverty and fellowship with American Indians because he didn’t have a family. I think God will send ravens with chunks of food in their mouths to people like that. If you have a family, I think you should live for what is good for the family, including that it is good for a family to be generous. It is sweet when a little child wants to give all their presents away, but if Anne Frank’s grandmother gave her a pen, I think it is okay for Anne to keep it fondly and use it as she did. There are some things worth keeping and protecting, including one’s spouse and children. On one hand they aren’t ours. If I have given my children to God, then I have to listen to what he wants me to do with them. Hannah physically gave Samuel away, as did Joachim and Anna with Mary when she was a toddler, but most of us aren’t required to do that until they get older. While they are ours, our control over them is with the intention of building Godly relationships. There are some possessive pronouns that go along with that. But like Abraham with Isaac, we have to be willing to go to extremes if it is so required. We should be thankful when it isn’t. And if we are doing God’s will with them, we can always say we have a relationship with them – “have” being a possessive word.

I think all of our possessions can be seen in that regard to a lesser degree. We have to be willing to give anything up if God requires it. Sometimes though I think he wants us to receive graciously and enjoy. There’s a time and place for everything. A time to give and a time to receive. We can look at celebrities in the fancy box seats at games and wonder at how they feel they deserve it, but I think people who are rich and famous are probably less lazy, and certainly less glutonous than me, or have some special appreciated talent that they were given. Or their progenitors did.  It may be a rare enough talent to be worth those special seats. I don’t begrudge them that, but I would like them to be aware that thinking they deserve special treatment on those grounds seems a bit conceited. It’s kind of an odd balance a talented person has to have. Humility is seeing yourself accurately. A person may be the best looking, acting, singing, thinking person in the world, but I think they should believe that gives them more responsibility. It takes guts and confidence to get up in front of people and do your thing, but they should be thankful when they get rewarded. I think they should feel like public servants and not God’s gift. A talentless, wasted street person can also be God’s gift, though in not so enjoyable a way. Having people to give to can teach us selflessness and thus help us on the road to salvation. I think some people think they are God’s gift to street people when they give to them, but perhaps good intentions aren’t always the best. Some street people can be dangerous for a person’s family, as happened to Elizabeth Smart and her family. I think a single, strong man, or group of men, is better suited to handle many of those types of situations, which may entail letting someone reach rock bottom. Certain women who have raised their children may be better suited to speak with and provide for pregnant teens who don’t believe they have more than one option. Of course there are exceptions that one has to be open to.

Many rich people and celebrities may need the extra security a private box gives them. Being in the public eye isn’t as great as it can seem from the outside. But living a secluded, ritzy life, full of self-gratification is what is warned against, as far as I can tell. In one of the eating classes I attended it was mentioned that private eating is what gets people fat. One should seek to be as kenotic as possible in all circumstances, but not in an unfiltered way, imo. Mainly I think one needs to keep in mind how any sort of enjoyment will affect one’s family. It is very hard to discern the balance between spoiling people and neglecting them. We can only do our best at figuring it out and pray for mercy for when we fail.