The Anatomy of Giving

Posted on February 22nd, 2012 by JMorgan

Giving can be really easy to do.

Just last night I gave a woman holding a sign some loose change. I did. I never do stuff like that, but she got to me. I have worked at Rescue Missions and I always give to them because they know the real story, they meet the Spiritual and physical need, and they move people towards self-sufficiency. I broke my own rule last night. I couldn’t help myself. Have you ever felt this way? It was a compassion-driven impulse (or perhaps the Holy Spirit).

As I was thinking about Lupton’s words in the third chapter of Toxic Charity, I am captivated by this thought: “if giving is going to be redemptive, it is not simple.” It’s so true. I gave a woman some change on my way from the theater, but I never asked her name, I didn’t hear her story, I didn’t engage her. Because, to be honest, I was in a hurry. Stopping to talk was just too inconvenient. Kind of embarrassing—it’s been haunting me.

My actions last night reinforce Lupton’s point that mercy ministry alone is really insufficient. “Mercy is a force that compels us to acts of compassion. But in time mercy will collide with an ominous opposing force. Injustice. Against this dark and overpowering force, acts of mercy can seem meager.”

We’re familiar with the passage in Micah (6:8) that reads “O people, the Lord has already told you what is good, and this is what he requires: to do what is right (act justly), to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” Acting justly speaks to fairness and reasonableness in decision making and loving mercy speaks to acting in forgiveness, compassion and kindness—especially to our subordinates.

The marriage of mercy and justice is powerful. It leads to:

  • Immediate care with a future plan
  • Emergency relief and responsible development
  • Short-term intervention and long-term involvement
  • Heart responses and engaged minds

My prayer is that God would continue to challenge me to live a Micah 6:8 lifestyle. Will you join me?