To Give Or Not To Give - That Is The Question

by Jonathan Settel

The phone rang early breaking the silence with it’s stinging sound. The voice on the other end was young, pleasant and very proud of what she was about to say.

"Do you need a copy machine?" I could hear her smile.

"Why yes I do". I was surprised because I didn’t know this person and Sharon and all the girls in the office and I had been praying for a copier for over a year.

"We have a copy machine which we no longer need", said the voice, "and the best part is that it works."

My heart lifted and the blessing I was receiving was, so I thought, as manna from heaven.

I gathered my wife and we rushed the 40 miles "down the road" to pick up this blessing. Huffing and puffing we placed this monster machine into our car and off to the office we went. Once again Sharon and I wrestled our blessing into the office and placed it firmly onto the table. Touching the copy machine lovingly we waited for Kay and Rose, our staff technicians and loving intercessors to come in and pray this wonderful windfall to it’s destiny.

The moment it was set up we held our breath. The "on" button was pressed and after a few minutes these words appeared on the LCD read out. . . "Call For Maintenance". We were a bit concerned but not dismayed. After all the blessing was there and the folks that gave the copy machine to us had said, "and it works¼." So we knew there was no real problem. The people wanted a hundred dollars an hour to look at the machine. So I began to get a sinking feeling in my gut. Still, I didn’t panic. After all, people who give, give from their heart and are sincere people with no agenda except to bless those whom they desire to bless. We made some calls to other office machine fixers and came up with a place whose’ price was $65 an hour and so over the man came. His examination proved to be the downfall of all my hopes for this "blessing". Surly they were motivated to give peace to the ministry and not more "tzuris" of which we had in abundance. "Why"’ asked my heart beating it’s disappointment, "why would some one do such a thing¼?"

The copy machine doctor’s prognosis was not good. The machine was over 10 years old and had not been used for more than a year. It had over 3.000.000.000 copies logged and had not worked for well over a year. It was, however taking up space in the office it was in and in us taking it, we became a blessing to those who wanted to give it to us.

This scenario that I have just related to you is like the woman who wanted to give New Russian immigrants her old, used clothing. She was so proud of the fact that she was giving to the poor, needy souls in their new country of Promise. I noticed that she was wearing a brand new sweater with tight buttons and shiny, silken wool. I asked her if the Russians might enjoy wearing the new sweater she was wearing. She just looked at me. Her gaze told me that perhaps I should not waste my time supposing anything.

Matthew 6:1-3 "Be careful not to do your "acts of righteousness" before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you."

Sharon and I have our needs met and we are "amply supplied". But for your own sake and the sake of the Lord our God, make giving an act of worship, "a fragrant offering, and acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God." The result? "And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches." (Phil. 4:15, 18-19)