A good friend of mine knows watches. He’s got a wealth of knowledge on them and can tell you the good or bad about most watchmaking companies. He can also teach you how to lookout for fakes.
This skill is at it’s peak when it comes to Rolex watches. There’s a few different ways to tell if you’re looking at a phony Rolex and he knows each one. This knowledge came in handy when he engaged in the awkward endeavor of telling a friend they owned a fake Rolex.
My friend and this particular skill came to mind when I had a conversation about politics. The person I was talking to made a great point in the discussion. They said we could find out a good deal about a candidate from their previous contributions to charity.
This made a great deal of sense to me. I responded to the comment by observing it’s similarity to Jesus’ teaching. In Matthew 6:21, Jesus says ‘where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’
What we treasure tends to be the recipient of our money. If we treasure good food, restaurants and grocery stores take up a good chunk of our budget. Romantic relationships or entertainment can be another example of this.
People can talk all they want about how much they care about something. Their budget speaks louder than their words. This doesn’t mean a person, or candidate, doesn’t care at all about others or those in need.
It does show what they think is more important; others or themselves.
As this conversation continued, I began to feel convicted. What would people think if they saw my budget? What is my treasure and what does it say about my heart?
I hope how I spend my money is an example to others. I hope it shows how the love of God has impacted my heart. I hope it tells other people about the greatness of my God.
Even if my budget accomplishes all of those, I want the light of Christ to reflect through me more each day. I can’t get better on my own; I need a teacher. The best teacher is someone whose a good example of the cheerful giving Paul discusses in 2 Corinthians
Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. – 2 Corinthians 9:6-7
Clothing brands pay people to model clothing so we can see a real life example of someone wearing the clothes. We need people to model attributes like cheerful giving to show us what true generosity looks like. This is important because someone can look generous while living a very selfish life.
I know because I did it.
I can’t count how many times someone has called me generous. This isn’t a brag because many of my generous acts were done because I wanted people to like me. While they might have impacted others in a positive way, my heart prioritized myself above people in need.
This problem expressed itself when my overall spending grew along with my giving. The more I gave, the more stuff I bought for myself. I could not escape my selfishness.
This is not a feasible way to live by the way. You will run out of money. The school of hard knocks is a great teacher.
A less painful teacher would have been someone who could model cheerful giving. I didn’t seek out such a person when I started my crusade of generosity. I wanted people’s acceptance and not to humble myself; this tends to be a recurring problem.
What encourages me now is that I can be someone else’s example. I learned some great lessons by doing things the wrong way. While I still need some more teaching on the subject, I now know a couple older guys who mentor me on the subject.
If all of us took up this mantle to be cheerful givers, it would become much easier to discern the good candidates from the bad. My friend knows how to spot a fake Rolex because he knows all the subtle markings of real Rolex watches. He’d be powerless to tell a real from a fake if he didn’t know those markings.
Knowing cheerful givers and working to make ourselves into one gives us a similar power. We’re kind of at a loss to tell the difference without those things. We must trust our small sampling of wisdom and what the internet or television tells us.
I hope we all learn a greater wisdom which helps us separate the generous from those who just talk the talk. It is within our reach. We must put in the work for it though.
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