Therefore in all this, giving should be without glory.
Whether it be by the tongue, by the heart, by feelings from inside or by the thoughts... As if you have given from what is yours!!... I remember here the depth of the words that the Apostle said: “What do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you glory as if you had not received it?” (1 Cor 4:7)... And if all that we give, we received from God, would not our glory in giving be in vain?!
Therefore God commanded that giving should be in secret.
He said: “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.” And He said, “... Your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly” (Mt 6:1,4). And God does not mean to keep your deed secret from people only, but from yourself also. Do not count and check on how much you have given, but:
“Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing” (Mt 6:3).
Do not mention how much you have given and do not recall how much you have given... Do not count your gifts but try to forget them all, lest the devil of vain glory fights you with that and also lest you receive your rewards on earth by glorifying yourself...
It was told about St Milania at the beginning of her spiritual life, before becoming a nun, that she used to offer much to the monasteries and to the monks... It happened once that she put five hundred pieces of gold in a bag and gave it to Abba Bemwah to give to the monks who lived in the inner wilderness. The saint called his disciple, gave him the bag without opening it and asked him to distribute the contents among these monks... Here, Milania said: “But you have not opened it, father, to know how much is in it?” The saint replied: “If you have given this money to God, then God knows how much it is”.. And this was a lesson for Milania.
Another quality of giving is liberality.
The Bible says: “He who gives, with liberality” (Rom 12:8). He also commands us to be: “Ready to give, willing to share” (1 Tim 6:18), and says: “He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” (2 Cor 9:6), and the Lord justifies that by saying: “For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you” (Lk 6:38).
Then it is not enough to give, but to be generous in giving.
We have a beautiful example in the Bible about Araunah the Jebusite, when King David wanted to buy the threshing-floor from him to build an altar to the Lord. Araunah rejoiced for that and wanted to donate the threshing-floor and whatever was on it. So he said to David: “Let my lord the King take and offer up whatever seems good to him. Look, here are oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing implements and the yokes of the oxen for wood” (2 Sam 24:22). Araunah offered everything to the King, but David said: “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing”.. Each of them wanted to pay cheerfully, joyfully and with liberality...
Let us remember the story of our Father Abraham when three men visited him:
He said to our mother Sarah: “Quickly, make ready three measures of fine meal; knead it and make cakes.” And Abraham ran to the herd, took a tender, good calf, gave it to a young man and he hastened to prepare it. So he took butter and milk and the calf which he had prepared, and set it before them” (Gen 18:6-8).. Do three men need three measures of meal... and a complete calf, adding to that butter and milk? Or was it the liberality of our Father Abraham?... It was his joy with the guests and he wanted for all to eat with them, his men and the shepherds to eat from the calf and the freshly baked bread...
With the same liberality in giving, so God treats us...
And so He said: “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over will be put into your bosom” (Lk 6:38). And also: “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse... and prove me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts: “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it...” (Mal 3:10). It was also said: “Honour the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine” (Prov 3:9).
One of the verses that also call to liberality in giving is the Lord’s saying.
“...Go, sell what you have and give to the poor” (Mt 19:21).
And also: “Sell what you have and give alms” (Lk 12:33). The Lord said: “Give to everyone who asks of you, and from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back” (Lk 6:30). The Bible also says: “He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none, and he who has food, let him do likewise” (Lk 3:11).
Other beautiful qualities of giving:
+ To give without being asked to do so, as we have discussed this issue before here on st-takla.org in other sections. This is what our Father in heaven does for us. This is also what the father and the mother do with their children. Have sensitivity towards people’s needs without waiting for them to ask you.
+ Do not postpone giving. Delay may cause harm to those who are in need. The Bible says about this: “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so. Do not say to your neighbour “Go, and come back, and tomorrow I will give it, when you have it with you” (Prov 3:27,28).
+ Train yourself to give from the best that you have.
Many do not give except the old and torn clothes and what is out of order or rejected by them... They are in fact giving these to Christ, as well as to the poor. Would that in all this we remember the offerings of Cain and Abel, as it was said that: “Abel also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering” (Gen 4:4). “Of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat” means of the best of what he had.
History gave us amazing examples of giving.
St Abraam, the Bishop of Fayoum and St Sarabamoun of the veil, the Bishop of Manoufia, and their many amazing stories of giving. Now however, time does not permit us to discuss their lives... and St John the Merciful who sold everything and gave to the poor. Then when there was nothing else to sell, he sold himself as a slave and gave the money paid for him to the poor. St Serapion also gave his tunic to a poor man who was naked, then sold his Bible also and gave the price to the poor . When his disciple asked him about that, he answered him saying: “The Bible said to me go and sell all you have and give the poor. So I sold it, as there was nothing else in my possession.”
During the Apostolic period, it was said : “All who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the Apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need” (Acts 4:34,35).
Where is our giving then, compared to them!
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