GivingHandbook 1: Article 63 - A More Excellent Way

"What does one person give to another? He gives of himself, of the most precious he has, he gives of his life. He gives of that which is alive in him; he gives of his joy, his interest, of his understanding, of his knowledge, of his humor, of his sadness -- of all the expressions and manifestations of that which is alive in him. And he does not give in order to receive."

Erich Fromm

God had a multitude of things to give -- the treasures of the universe -- but He gave what was vital to Himself, a part of Himself, His only begotten Son. I believe I must also give those things that I need, things vital to my own well being. To share my surplus is simply to distribute the wealth; to give away what I need myself is to join others in their need. My giving may include material possessions that I need to sustain my own life. It may be opening my innermost being to the eyes of another, telling him of my hurts, longings, shortcomings, or weaknesses. It may be rebuilding that which I did not tear down, sowing where I will not reap, comforting when my own heart is breaking. "Give that which is within as charity, and behold all things are clean for you." (Luke 11: 4)

We think of the following Scripture as the last word in giving:

"Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

We usually conclude that this verse refers to the laying down of one's physical life. And to give our physical life for another seems to be the ultimate in loving and giving. But Scripture relates that besides Jesus, there were two men who were willing to lay down their lives with a capital L, their eternal lives, for others. Moses was one, Paul was the other.

"I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself was accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh."

Romans 9: 1-3

Surely, this is the ultimate gift! No one could give more.

MC

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