This could be a snippet of a conversation overheard in any time or place. In a world where it is confidently declared ‘there’s no such thing as a free lunch,’ we still encounter examples of real generosity among human beings. In fact, if we’re looking for it, it’s happening all around us. It’s only when we shut ourselves off from the possibility that it eludes us. If we look hard enough, we sometimes find we’re involved in it ourselves, either as the giver or the receiver.
It makes most people just as uncomfortable to be put in a position where they have to receive as it does for them to be where they may be called upon to give. After all, who wants the stigma of being a taker of ‘charity’? And then again, who wants to be forced into giving when they would rather not, just for the sake of keeping up appearances? It is a fragile illusion that covers the world upon which most human beings build their lives.
Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.
Matthew 7:24-27 NIV
Giving and receiving, which is harder? I wonder.
What a strange world we live in, where absolute poverty disdains to receive absolute wealth, fearing the risk, fearing the hidden costs. What risk is there in accepting a gift freely given?
There is such a gift freely offered every day and every moment of every day, yet very few takers.
What good can a man enjoy who is certain that he is going to a place of absolute evil, and what evil can a man suffer who is certain that he is going to a place of absolute good? Even knowing this, it is still too much for most men to take the risk of salvation, and many haven’t even come to the point of counting the cost.
Can we really be so naïve as to entrust ourselves to one so much richer than we are? Isn’t it better to remain in our poverty, in blindness, deafness and nakedness than to exchange all these for that free gift? We were made for poverty, and the wealth that is being offered would end all that, all that we have been and known.
‘Salvation is just too great a risk. It’s all just too easy. Find someone else to give your bleeding charity to. I’ll have none of it,’ he declared as he walked away.
‘But you, son, hook freely on to someone’s charity. Look really when there’s something there to see,’ said the father gently to his obedient child.
The risk of salvation is worth taking.