Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
It’s that time of year for our family. We gather and watch A Christmas Carol. Actually, we usually watch three versions: the George C. Scott version, the Patrick Stewart version, and, of course, the Muppet Christmas Carol. I love all three.
Every year, my conscience is pricked and my heart is touched by the transformation of Ebenezer Scrooge from a tight fisted, cold hearted skinflint into a tender hearted, open handed man.
Ebenezer’s treasure was wealth. Gold was his passion to the exclusion of all else. He shunned love and family in favor of his idol. He was consumed with getting wealth and KEEPING IT! If a person or investment did not bring a profit or benefit directly to him; then Scrooge considered it a waste of time, energy, thought and money.
Let me clarify: there is nothing wrong with wealth or success. There is something wrong with a monomaniacal pursuit of wealth purely for oneself.
Fred, Scrooge’s nephew, attempts to counter Scrooge’s argument about Christmas being a pointless frivolity with the joy associated with generosity, charity and love.
“There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited…” Fred Holywell, A Christmas Carol
Fred’s philosophy was to give without thought of profit or personal benefit. Fred is aware of the good that generosity does his heart and soul; the expanding of his heart to include those he doesn’t even know. He doesn’t pause to think “If I give to this person or institution; how will this benefit me? What do I gain? What does it profit me?”
Stingy people never have enough. It’s all for themselves. It’s really a type of narcissism. Me, me, me. It’s all for me and my comfort and my pleasure.
I’m challenged to ask myself: Do I care about someone on the other side of the world or the other side of town; that I will never meet? Do I care enough to give to those who are doing the work that I can’t? Do I care enough to set aside money even if I don’t gain a profit or personally benefit? Am I being obedient when I ignore the desperate need of those on the front lines of missions and keep spending on myself?
So often, I only want to give when it doesn’t actually cost me anything. I think about King David in 2 Samuel 24 where he refuses to accept free livestock to make an offering to the Lord. David says he won’t offer any sacrifice to the Lord that doesn’t cost him anything. “He didn’t look for the cheapest way possible to please God. A true, strong love for Christ will cost you something. Love is the costliest of undertakings.” –David Guzik
I am especially challenged this season to give generously, cheerfully, thoughtfully, and gratefully. I might have to move some items in my budget around but I’m doing it.
“What we believe determines what we value, and what we value demonstrates how we live.”—from the Core Values of the Christian-Missionary Alliance