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Vital signs- Tuesday, October 10th,2023

Generous AND Loving

“When you harvest the crops of your land, do not harvest the grain along the edges of your fields, and do not pick up what the harvesters drop. It is the same with your grape crop—do not strip every last bunch of grapes from the vines, and do not pick up the grapes that fall to the ground. Leave them for the poor and the foreigners living among you. I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 19:9-10).

“Leave them for the poor…” In 2019 Americans donated $310 billion to individuals and causes. Was this done out of love? In a video a man stood on a street corner with a homemade sign that read, “homeless." Two men followed him when he left and watched him drive a late-model Chevy to a beautiful home. Forget the fraud. Out of the dozens who were caught on film, not one donor asked the man to tell his story, asked if he had a family, or inquired about his hopes. Some generosity is unloving. It makes us feel good but doesn’t actually help. Donated clothing from the US that’s sold in Rwanda puts Africans in the local textile industry out of work. Rice donated to Haiti from the US destroys the market for local crops (see Poverty, Inc.). The Israelites gave in ways that left dignity intact (“Oops, I dropped those grapes; they’re not worth picking up.”), required some kind of effort on the part of the recipients (“Children, let’s go glean.”), and often required a small contribution from the one in need (Leviticus 14:10 cf.14:21). Love worries less about how a donation makes me feel and more about “will this help the other person?” Love means knowing the person to whom I’m giving and working with organizations who do help in loving ways. Love may mean getting to know those to whom I’m donating, giving fewer dollars and more hours, or opening my home as well as my checkbook.

How are you using your time, talent and treasure to help others?

Father, make my heart for the world and those in need, like yours. May I love those I give to as much as you love those you gave your Son to. Grant me the wisdom to make sure I am helping—not hurting. In giving, guard me against wicked pride marked by self-congratulation. May everything I give remind me that everything I have, you gave. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Team Wade loves you and is praying for you❤️👊

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