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Wednesday: Deathbed Charity — 5 Comments

  1. Charity goes much deeper than a one-off event at the end of one's life. It's a way of living. 1 Cor 13 describes it so well:

    Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, never haughty or selfish or rude. Love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong. It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever truth wins out. If you love someone, you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him, and always stand your ground in defending him.

    All the special gifts and powers from God will someday come to an end, but love goes on forever. Someday prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge—these gifts will disappear. Now we know so little, even with our special gifts, and the preaching of those most gifted is still so poor. But when we have been made perfect and complete, then the need for these inadequate special gifts will come to an end, and they will disappear. 1 Cor 13: 4-10 TLB

    I suggest that if you are not practicing this stuff, then the stuff you give away when you die is not charity. It is just purchasing a good farewell speech.

  2. The "deathbed" statement Ellen White (5T 154) infers that Christ requires his followers to be generous and selfless in their actions, and that delaying charitable giving can be a trap set by Satan.

    In the paragraph prior to the “deathbed statement, she says, “Do not strengthen your hold on this world by taking advantage of your poorer neighbour. For God’s eye is upon you.” Her admonition in previous pages provides the context that, “The poor cannot keep comfortable on good wishes alone.”

    A financially struggling Christian who reads only the “deathbed” statement, and not the context, may feel unfairly burdened. God values the sincerity and willingness to give far more than the amount given. They can still make a difference, however, through small acts of kindness and generosity. e.g. They could donate their time or talents, or they could share their resources with others in need.

    It is important to recognise that God does not judge people based on their financial status, but rather the motives of their hearts.

  3. What is the culture of money I'm inserted into? How wisely do I deal with what I produce? Am I practicing charity? Am I practicing tithing and offerings? These are all addressed in the Bible. I believe that the balance of it all I may achieve by surrendering myself totally to the Spirit of Love, because without Him, I can do nothing. I'm alive because of Him, then absolutely anything that I do is also dependent on this Donor of Life. Is there still any subject (or several) to be worked upon in my heart? May I be open to what the true fountain of wisdom teaches me today.

  4. I am beginning to wonder if these lessons focusing on financial giving are meant to encourage/motivate us to give more to the church organization and its efforts. Since all giving has a spiritual component, the ‘rightness’ of the gift and the act of ‘giving’ needs to be considered in the context of one’s overall living and giving.

    I do not think it right to judge the giver’s motives or the ‘rightness’ of the gift-giving by the frequency, timeliness, or the amount given. The old nature will always clamor to satisfy its demands, but we are well equipped to manage these demands by the Light of God's Word.

    My mom was a quiet Christian. She did not attend church regularly or give more to the church directly than what the government required to give as a member of a religious group. She chose her giving to be more personal. Throughout her life she chose to share/give generously to others of that which she considered to be ‘more than enough’ to meet the needs of her family. Prov.30:8

    Her example of generosity imprinted in my heart the truth of ‘living to give’ to be the way of life -- the truth of the Word of God applied to our daily life; the new nature’s way of living. Would it not be a good idea to consider everything we have in light of what we are willing to do without whiles still living - to share? Being a good steward of the manifold blessings of God, we would make the focus of our life the active ‘participation in giving and sharing’ in all its forms as long as we live!

    • It is sometimes hard for a person to broaden their perspectives beyond their own experience. The lessons may unintentionally target a specific socio-economic group, even though Jesus welcomes everyone, regardless of their financial status. Generosity is relative.


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