Unless one is willing to labor in obscurity, give anonymously, pray secretly and live in poverty; there is little chance one will be able to avoid being found guilty of hypocrisy. Christians love blowing their horn to alert everyone as to how much they are doing or giving for the church. Jesus specifically taught that this is wrong.
In August of 2006 some local people did a fund raiser for the small charity I had. They had a band and the band spent a Saturday evening entertaining folks at a small park. The results were modestly successful, for their goal was to fill up a truck with supplies to take down to Mississippi. There was a fair amount of things donated and some decent cash donations given as well. All in all the evening was a blessing for the band, the audience and the charity.
The next day someone who was there met me after church and asked if I wanted 1000 walkers. She worked for a huge local hospital and health care chain and these walkers did not meet the specifications ordered and the manufacturer did not want them back. The health care group was just trying to get them out of their warehouse.
I agreed to take the walkers not realizing they had to be moved immediately and stored somewhere. Finally I had to pay to have them taken all the way to Mississippi to a warehouse I was renting there. The warehouse closed so I had to rent a truck and haul about 800 of them back to Missouri to a be stored temporarily in a barn someone graciously volunteered.
I worked fervently trying to find someone who wanted all those walkers. I Finally I found a charity to take about 700 of them to be distributed all over the world. I took 100 of them and crammed them into my trailer and personally delivered them to a charity in New York.
I noticed some time later on the website of the band that did the fundraiser that they said they raised $75,000 for my charity. It turns out they were using the fair market value of those walkers (common practice) as part of the total amount of money they raised at the event. All I could do was shake my head at the irony of the situation, for those walkers had ended up COSTING me thousands of dollars to store and transport.
The company that donated those walkers was not interested in helping anyone. All they wanted was for someone to take them off their hands. I guess I accommodated them. I am thankful for the hundreds of people all around the world who received one of those walkers but I learned a huge lesson from that experience and that was to beware of Greeks (giant corporations) bearing gifts.
Your blog made me think of a story told by the late Corrie ten Boom.
It seems that once, during her earlier days of speaking, she was approached afterward by a woman who was obviously extremely wealthy. The woman wrote her an enormous check for which Corrie was grateful but as she took the check, something seemed very, very wrong. She sensed that God wanted her to give back the check.
What? This was a wonderful gift! It would do sooooo much good and...
No. She was not to accept it. Puzzled, she began to talk further with the woman and she quickly discovered why she was to not accept this gift. The woman cared nothing about people and the message. She simply wanted the "rush", the self-righteous rush of giving to "those poor, pathetic people." This was exactly what Jesus was illustrating in his story about the pharisee and the publican praying in the temple.
Corrie handed the check back to the woman who was first embarrassed and then angry but... she knew she couldn't accept the "offering" because God hadn't. She would never make a plea for money again.
I am not suggesting that we not make our needs known to people and neither was Corrie. She realized this was something God was telling her to do and she did not apply that to others. She was only trying to illustrate the importance of giving with our hearts rather than giving to make ourselves look/feel good.
Careful now B2Y, Poseidon might send a serpent after you to silence this message ;). Thankfully THAT won't happen- but I'm still a fan of classics. It's funny to me how people love to have their name associated with generosity, but the actual work attracts few hands. I'm glad you shared this story today, because it's a call out to me on my own motivations. Blessings!
thank you for your message. it seems like that time of year where corporations what"their name in lights" as my brother in law use to say. be blessed and thank you for all you do for "god's kingdom"...