I do not want there to be a single child in poverty anywhere. I do not want anyone to go hungry….ever! But it seems to me that “the poor” have been used as the crowbar to separate people of goodwill from their resources by those with less than sincere intent for a very long time.
In our women’s Bible study we covered Mary of Bethany and her devotion for Jesus. It was devotion that called her to do what she could with what she had. What she had was a very expensive container of exquisite perfume – nard – that was worth at least a year’s worth of wages. The perfume was Mary’s. She did not steal it. She could do with it as she pleased….and she did. But there were those around her who had a hissy fit. They said she WASTED it. It should have been sold and the money given to “the poor”. This from Judas, who was the treasurer of the group. It always makes me wonder what would have happened if a thorough audit was done on the purse and the dispensations – charitable or otherwise – that he made.
Nevertheless, Judas’ attitude was wrong.
He felt he had a right to demand the asset, to determine how it would be used, and when he was thwarted, something snapped in him. In fact, it was immediately after this outpouring of Mary’s abundant love offering to Jesus that Judas went and secretly arranged to betray Jesus. His over-reaching greed had turned into something even more sinister. He forsook all that he had been a part of for years and was willing to betray the Master over money.
I pray that we do not fall into the same snare. There is a whole lot of jealousy and greed being fomented these days. People think that other people’s stuff should be theirs; that it is perfectly just to confiscate it and give it to “the poor”. That is Judas’ line of philosophy and not a good method for us to use.
May we be generous and kind and willing to give to one another. May our charity flow without ceasing. But may we also honor the concept of individual ownership and responsibility of the owner to choose how to use the blessings that they have.
As you take an inventory of what you have at your disposal, ask yourself: what will you do with your talents, your riches, your time?
May our response be one of devotion and worship as Mary’s was, holding nothing back.
James 2:5-7 New International Version (NIV):
5 Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?