Giving Away the Store

“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16: 11)

Growing Dominion, Part 40

God blesses open-handedness, and yet there is such a thing as giving away the store. What is the difference between the two?

The law of God requires open-handedness, and a generous spirit. The gleaning laws of the Old Testament, for example, made sure that successful farmers left enough after the harvest so that those who were less fortunate were able to come and gather for themselves. In that gathering, they too worked for their harvest. God did not require the successful farmer to harvest everything and then deliver it to the poor who were capable of working themselves. And if the farmer gave everything away, he would have nothing more to give in the future. If he made sure that others were able to benefit by the blessing on God on him, then that was sufficient. It is important to note at the same time that this gleaning principle was not part of the tithe.

So a generous spirit is not the same thing as a subsidizing spirit. A man who is able to work, and yet does not work, should not eat. And it is not generosity to feed him. But at the same time the successful farmer (or businessman, extending the metaphor) ought not to fault the poor for not thinking far enough ahead to be as successful as he is. It is enough (as far as the law of God is concerned) that the man is willing to work hard today.

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