Giving Back

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I have for sometime noticed that our culture obsesses with the idea of doing good under the title “giving back”. Every celeb, corporation, commencement speaker touts the idea of giving back as a moral imperative. Commercial corporations, sports leagues and others often boast about the amounts they give to charitable organizations. But what are they giving back? Where did they get the resources to become so charitable? In some cases clearly what they give back is what they took from someone else. National sports leagues make billions by selling tickets, over priced food, memorabilia, and so on all at exorbitant prices. Then they take the money they took from their fans and “give back.” Is this really moral? The idea that a group takes too much for their goods and then gives back a minuscule portion of what they took all in the name of “giving back”. Besides the fact that these same institutions make a lot of noise about their giving and so teach the opposite of what Jesus taught about giving. The worldly institution or individual may be said to give back because they took too much in the first place. Then to compound the error they make a lot of noise about what they are doing – so they may be perceived as “good”.

What concerns me here is not so much the double-dealing worldly value of charity, but the idea that many Christians may be challenged to distinguish between Christian compassion and the worldly “giving back.” Scripture speaks about the motive of compassion laying on the foundation of the LORD’s compassion upon us. 1 John 3:16-18 speaks to us about the sacrificial giving of the LORD on our behalf. We needed help to bridge the broken relationship with our Father, He saw our need, proved His love by the sacrifice of Jesus, and so reconciled us to Him while we were sinners. So when we see need we who possess the love of God (through His action) share that love with those in need. This is no PR stunt, no taking from others for the sake of looking good, no the compassion of God resides in us and by His compassion we give to those need. God stands as the source of our compassion, God receives the glory for our giving, there is no place for humans to receive applause, but only for thankful hearts yielding to a benevolent Father’s impression upon our souls.

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About the Author:

Dr. Brown the pastor of Military Ave. Church in one of America’s poorest neighborhoods since 1989 where he serves with his wife Barb. He holds D.min and M.div from Gordon-Conwell. He authored Justice Matters a book addressing compassion ministries among the poor. His children now grown still worship and serve at Military Ave. Church.

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