November 19, 2010

A Fool

1 Samuel 25:1-40

“Why should I take my bread and water … and give it to men coming from who knows where?”
1 Samuel 25:11


My uncle once observed, “If you give a few hundred dollars a year to good causes, you’ll be known as a gentleman. Keep it all for yourself, and you’ll be seen as a fool.”

His words are rather blunt, but probably true. Don’t you get weary of the person who is always defending his tight-fisted hold on money? He says things like “No, I am not going to put anything in the collection plate; I can’t get a tax deduction for it” or “No, I don’t spread my money around unless I can be sure of exactly how it is going to be used.” These are not the statements of a good steward. They are the excuses of a miser.

Nabal, whose name means “fool,” said things like that. David’s men had not entered a contractual agreement with him, so Nabal wasn’t going to provide food or supplies for them. Nabal wasn’t going to set his money afloat on some group he didn’t care about. No one was going to take advantage of him. In effect, he said, “Who knows who this character David is, and what he and his men will do with my hard-earned possessions?” As a result, Nabal failed to invest in the very place where God was at work in his world.

Yes, we are called to be careful stewards. But if we never practice generosity because we never find the perfect cause, then we have followed Nabal down the road to foolishness. With wisdom, may we give with open hearts and hands!

Lord, pardon us for our foolishness. Help us to recognize that we cannot and should not try to control the use of your money, thinking it is ours. Amen.

About the author — Kent Van Til

Dr. Kent Van Til and his wife have been missionaries in Central America. He has taught at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, and at Kuyper College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has written a book on poverty and is currently writing an introductory textbook on Christian ethics. He and his wife, Kathy, have three daughters.

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