Special Posting: The Commandment of Giving

“15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk. 16 And they sent to Him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do You care about anyone, for You do not regard the person of men. 17 Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” (Matthew 22: 15-17, NKJV, Pg. 958).

I accept you as you are. I love you as you are. For God made you, who am I to quarrel with God. So, I love you and accept you as you are. Shouldn’t this have been the real attitude of the Pharisees? Wouldn’t their faith had been stronger, their hearts more pure if this was how they accepted Jesus? But no, they chose to test the Lord, they chose to plot and plan against him. But I say to you, isn’t this human nature? So what did the Lord do, one might ask?

“18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, “Why do you test me, you hypocrites? 19 Show Me the tax money.” So they brought Him a denarius. 20 And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” 21 They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22: 18-21, NKJV, Pg. 958).

If you are a follower of Listening Faithfully you know I don’t ask for money in return for reading what is posted here on the blog. It is my personal and firm belief that you give to God what belongs to him in your own way, hopefully in church. Thus, from time to time I receive messages asking me why I don’t have a donations page, because if I did, they wrote, readers would donate money. To be truthful I resist this temptation of collecting donations because I want there to be a free spirit of giving and sharing here. I truly enjoy writing this blog and every week I receive over 300 messages from people who tell me they enjoy reading what I post. It’s a fair exchange in my view; it is also in line with the gospel. However, even Jesus accepted the charitable giving of others. So in the spirit of charitable giving I am writing this special posting and I will ask only one thing; that being if you truly feel the calling of God, tugging away at your heart to give or to contribute or to donate, call it what you will then, I suggest for you to read about both our Foreign Giving and Domestic Giving or causes which are near and dear to my heart, and I know after reading about them they will be near and dear to your heart as well.

(Currently we are still collecting all the information necessary to fully bring to light the Foreign Giving which can be found on the Foreign Giving tab. Please read next week’s special posting.)

Before I begin I would like to quote one of my favorite Lutheran Ministers who writes so eloquently about giving in the name of the Lord, to help those who are furthering Gods work here on Earth, Dr. Richard P. Bucher, from Lexington Kentucky writes, “I’m not referring to the laws of tithing which God imposed upon the Old Testament believers. These will be discussed later. I’m referring to the moral law of the Seventh Commandment: You shall not steal. The Seventh Commandment is not merely about stealing–it is about stewardship. The Seventh Commandment reminds us that God is the owner of everything. “The earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein” (Ps. 24:1) is the constant refrain of Scripture. When we steal from our neighbor we are ultimately stealing from Him who gave to our neighbor in the first place (James 1:17). Since God owns everything, it follows that we own nothing: we are merely stewards (managers) of God’s possessions” (Bucher, Richard P. Dr., Sermon: Christian Giving In God’s Word), retrieved: October 23, 2011, from: http://www.orlutheran.com/html/stew.html

Domestic Giving:

So with this in mind and the proper mood set, here are the two suggestions. As an educator in the inner city schools of Los Angeles there are many children who are raised in absolute poverty. After eight years of working in these communities I am still struck with awe to how many people there are in need in what most would consider being the wealthiest nation on earth. But, nevertheless I see this poverty, I see the destructive nature of this poverty and I often wonder how I can have the biggest impact? In reading the scripture I find that Jesus helped people, curried them of their illnesses and he even raised the dead, one person at a time. God loves all of us and he is interested in us in detail. So from these two truths I conclude that God helps those who he has established a personal relationship with. So I am writing to you so you may know the personal relationships to the community to which I serve so lovingly.

Each Year at Ascension Catholic School, in association with STARK NET, and other contributors a special summer program known as the Technology Team is hosted. Students from grades 5-8 are welcome to join and learn during four weeks of their summer break all the inner most workings of the computer. They do wonderful projects like taking computers apart, cleaning them, and then putting everything back as they found it. Reformatting hard drives and reinstalling the operating system. The students learn skills of problem solving, how to conduct proper internet research as they find the prices of new computer components. They write the Tech Team News Letter and at the end of the four weeks give a PowerPoint presentation before their parents showing off everything they have done during the four weeks they attended. The course emphasizes computer literacy in the highest order. It is fully in line with the ISTE Standards, and is taught by a teacher who is really passionate about the subject matter and the student’s future success. Unfortunately, each year there are students who are turned away because they cannot afford the meager $150.00 it costs to attend during the summer. This tuition is imposed upon the families of the students who want to join because the Tech Team T-Shirts, Flash-Drives, material, computer components, and the teacher’s salary are all elements which need to be compensated for. Normally the salary component would not be an issue, but teachers are not paid during the long summer months. The school has done fundraisers and has managed to secure minimal support for scholarships for a few of the students who are in the worst need lowering the $150.00 tuition down to just $100.00. Ironically each year the course material becomes more complex and more activities are added to make the program more robust and in this it is truly Gods hand being shown as children from all over the community come to sign up and participate in this extraordinary summer program. What ways so heavy on my heart in the mist of such awesome work being done for the Lord at Ascension is that each year the Technology Team teeters on the cusp of not happening due to the lack of funds as our economy becomes worse and worse. Like my mother use to say, “You cannot drawl blood from a turnip.”

So it is with a heavy heart I see this valuable program being sidelined due to no funds, and the hope is that with just the support of 105 people donating just $100.00 not only will the students in the inner city of Los Angeles be able to enjoy another year of the technology team, but they will be able to receive this program free of charge. For the first time with only 105 generous people the members of the Technology Team will receive the funds to not just take the computers apart, but also research, plan, budget for the purchasing of the components for their very own computers that at the end of the course will they be able to take home and use for school work. As a teacher of technology I cannot conceive of a better gift we can give to our children, that of a tool they can use to succeed, one that will benefit them for many years to come as they move through life as lifelong learners and become computer literate. All it takes is just 105 generous people to make this dream come true for children who are raised in absolute poverty.

So I say this to you in my appeal, “I accept you as you are. I love you as you are. For who am I to argue with God who created you as you are. For I say to you it was the Lord thy God who has given you everything, all your money, your worldly belongings, your career or calling, your wife or husband, and your children, and your family all of which our Lord has so richly blessed. For it was the Lord who asked you to give unto God what belongs to God, whom commanded you to love your neighbor as you love yourself.(Matthew 22:34-40)”

If you would like to sponsor this program then please click on this link:

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I thank you on behalf of Listening Faithfully Blog and promise to update everyone on the progress once this program is funded completely. For a list of all the costs associated with running this program please write me personally at: listeningfaithfullyblog@gmail.com.

Challenge Question: If giving of one’s self, time, money, belongings, and food is the will of God, then why aren’t more people doing it? For more scripture on Giving please see: http://listeningfaithfullyblog.com/2011/07/24/814/

Amen

If you have been moved by this blog I humbly invite you to leave a message telling me your thoughts and how this reflection has touched you. May peace and love be with you all the days of your life.  May God keep you and bless you.

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