“We do justice when we give all human beings their due as creations of God. Doing justice includes not only the righting of wrongs, but generosity and social concern, especially toward the poor and vulnerable.”
(Generous Justice/ Tim Keller/p. 18)
If justice is the engine that drives the gospel, then mercy is the vehicle it rides in. The question on the table is, “Where are you going man?!” I suppose one could just as easily say that Doing justice and mercy are “doing giving”. Giving is a lost art. Do you know anyone who give unselfishly or without mixed motives? I don’t. I know people who give without thinking. That’s reflexive giving. That kind of giving is little better than a Pavlovian response. I give my 10% (truly it’s more like 8.5) whenever I get my check or when the plate comes around…after all I wouldn’t want folk to notice I’m not putting money in the passing plate. I’m not so much denigrating poor giving practices, as I am saying that here again is an opportunity for discipleship with our boys. People are sloppy givers, because they are never taught to be good givers. It is not because we have fallen on hard financial times. We are the wealthiest people on the planet, and in fact it has been shown (see the Barna Report on giving) that the more money an individual makes the less likely he is to give generously. My brothers this should not be! And it would not be so if we taught pour sons what generous giving is. It has been noted in Scripture that he Lord owns the cattle on a thousand hills. In an agrarian economy, that inspired writer is saying, “God owns the economy, he own all the money, and you are supposed to be shepherding it around until it gets to the proper place it was meant to be.” I suggest that we don’t explain and pass on the legacy of giving because we do not understand it fully ourselves. It has been one of my hard set rules for myself that I do not try to implement any concept, but particularly those involving money, until I understand it well enough to explain it to someone else. It ensure that I am connecting all the dots in my thinking and not doing something as a kneejerk reaction. I mean, how can we be “cheerful givers” if we are merely throwing money at things…with out regard for what we are doing or being in relationship with the recipients of that action? We can’t. What we are missing is that somehow justice, and mercy, and giving are all inextricably connected. And I believe we are commanded to give because it is difficult for us, just as showing mercy is hard for us. But if we would truly be followers of Christ, loving Him who we can’t see by loving those we do see, then we must get a handle on this legacy of love called giving.