Tag Archives: generosity

Three Dollars

Story of the Day for Tuesday September 25, 2012 

Three Dollars


                Whoever brings blessing to others will be blessed; the one who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.

                                                                                                         Proverbs 11:25


A proud grandpa took his little granddaughter, Hannah, out trick-or-treating. The little girl had her bag of candy, but she had trouble mastering the concept. Instead, of holding out her bag at the door, she would reach into her bag and offer candy to the people at the door.

Hannah’s grandpa tried to train her. “No, sweetheart, you’re not supposed to offer people your candy; you’re supposed to take theirs.”

Grandpa taught her the right way to do it. He thinks. But he’s not so sure that little Hannah didn’t have it right.


Our view of giving has changed in recent times. The philosophers have weighed in with their expert opinions. If showing kindness to other people brings you happiness, some scholars maintain, then your act was really motivated by self-interest. Your generosity was not altruistic because of the personal benefit your derived from it.

Deferring to the experts, many have accepted this enlightened understanding of our behavior. But, after years of calm reflection, I have come to the conclusion that these philosophers are full of baloney.

Let’s think about this. If a person’s giving is truly motivated by self-interest, one of two things will happen: either they won’t be generous, because they, selfishly, want to keep what they have for themselves, or they may grudgingly give, but it will bring them no pleasure to do so.

God desires that our giving to others should bring us deep joy.  He says he loves a cheerful giver. The happiness that comes from helping others is not selfishness. God himself, the Bible reminds us, delights in showing compassion.


Years ago, my wife and I had a hectic day. We asked a lot from our five-year-old son, Randy, but he was a trouper. As a reward, my wife gave him three dollars to buy some candy.

My wife took Randy to the church one evening. People could write prayer requests on a board, and then you would go into the church to pray for them. Randy was struck by a prayer request for Jason, a nine-year-old boy suffering from cancer. He asked mom if he could make a card. With some help with the spelling he wrote, “Dear Jason, I hope you are feeling better. Love, Randy.” He drew a picture and colored it with a green marker. And then he told his mom that he wanted to give his three dollars to Jason.


If you think my son’s joy in helping Jason was nothing more than a self-interested act because it brought him pleasure, you’re free to do so.  But I believe the Lord is serious when he says that those who bring blessing to others will themselves be blessed.

(copyright climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

Dividing Cymbals

Story of the Day for Friday July 22, 2011

Dividing Cymbals

                     Its not that others should benefit while you suffer, but that there should be equality.

                                                                                1 Corinthians 8:13

 Many years ago, two churches, who jointly supported a Christian grade school, got in a spat and decided to close the school.

Martin Bangert wrote about the dissolution. All the textbooks were divided up evenly: ten geography books for you; ten geography books for us.

The process went smoothly until they came to the band instruments. There was only one pair of cymbals. So, what did they do? Rather than display a charitable attitude by offering the pair of cymbals to the other church, each maintained their rigid standard of equality: one cymbal for you; one cymbal for us.

A pair of cymbals is meant to be struck together to make a crashing exclamation point to a musical performance. But what do you do when you only have one half of the pair of cymbals? If two people both claim ownership to a pair of shoes, equality is the worst solution. Now you have two people: one with a left shoe, the other with a right shoe.

When equality becomes selfish, it is no longer fair; it is harmful.


When Paul talks about equality, he’s not talking about dividing up cymbals – he means something entirely different. Today, we could scream that his notion of equality was “unfair.” Paul urged that all believers should open their hearts to others in greater need. He wanted one church to generously give to help a poorer church.

How is that equality? Simple. As long as everyone maintains a kind and charitable heart, it will all work for everyone’s benefit in the end. When the first church, which gave so generously, is in need, then others will gladly return the favor to help them out.


When religious people asked why Jesus devoted so much attention to sinful people his response was that they needed more help. “It’s not the healthy who need a doctor,” he told them, “but the sick.”


KSHN-FM serves the cities of Dayton and Liberty, Texas. A conflict arose over whose Friday night football game they should broadcast. Should the station broadcast the game that was more important? Or should they just alternate weeks – despite the importance of the game?  Equality has half of the listeners unable to hear their favorite ballgame on Friday night.

But Bill Buchanan, the station president and GM developed an ingenious compromise called “Split Channel Sports.” Every Friday night the station broadcasts both football games simultaneously. If you want to listen to the Liberty Panthers you turn the balance control to the left speaker; if you want to hear the Dayton Broncos game, you use the right speaker.

Once both communities expressed their willingness to sacrifice stereo reception on Friday nights, everyone became a beneficiary. The sense of equality that doesn’t originate from selfishness is so much better than dividing cymbals.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre

It’s the Thought That Counts

Story of the Day for Monday June 20, 2011

It’s the Thought That Counts


         I am filled, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you gave me. They are a fragrant aroma.  

                                                                                  Philippians 4:18

Now, don’t quote me on this because I’m not a doctor, but I think there’s a virus out there that can infect your mind. You become nutty and, as the condition worsens, it can even make you want to root for the Chicago Bears.

My Brain Virus Theory is helping me come to grips with my friend, Marilou Payton. She’s one of the funnest people you’ll ever meet, and if you talk to her for two minutes and aren’t laughing, it means you’re a crabby person. She’s more than a little nutty, and – since you’d find out sooner or later – she’s a huge Bears fan.

So, how do you help someone when they reach this point?  At times like these, you might not be able to cure them, but you have to let them know that you care. That is why I decided to give Marilou my Green Bay Packers hat for Christmas.

It’s the thought that counts.


While the apostle Paul was in prison, the Christians from Philippi in Macedonia sent him some gifts. He claimed he wasn’t desperate for their gifts, because he had learned the secret of being content – no matter what situation the Lord put him in.

All the same, Paul was delighted by their thoughtfulness and generosity.  He was very pleased, but he told them that God was pleased as well.


When the British liberated the German concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen in 1945, they were deeply shaken by what they saw. Jewish men, women, and children were dying – five hundred a day – from sickness and starvation.

One British officer wrote in his diary about the “Horror Camp.” The people, obviously, desperately needed food and medicine. But Lieutenant Colonel Mercin Willet Gonin mentioned that, shortly after the British Red Cross arrived, they received a large shipment of . . . lipstick.

Lipstick? People are dying and someone gets the notion to send lipstick?

But Gonin says the gift was “genius, sheer unadulterated brilliance.” He makes the outrageous claim, “I believe nothing did more for these internees than the lipstick.” Women wandered around camp wrapped in a blanket because they had no clothes, but they wore bright red lipstick. At last the women were no longer a number, but a person. “That lipstick,” Gonin wrote, “started to give them back their humanity.” The gift the prisoners never requested was one of the gifts they needed most.


The prognosis for Marilou’s recovery is grim, but hopeful. She still mails me sympathy cards whenever the Bears beat the Packers. But – and this is gossip, so I shouldn’t be telling you this – but I hear she wears her Packer hat every night until she goes to bed.  The cure may be on its way.

But, as I say, this is only a rumor. And I would never want to spread rumors.

                                     (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)