Fire in my Bones

Know who you take things from | Pst J.O. Lawal

Date: July 21, 2021                | Series: Youth for Jesus | Number: Vol. 4, No. 10

“Do not eat the food of a stingy man, do not crave his delicacies; for he is the kind of man who is always thinking about the cost.  “Eat and drink,” he says to you, but his heart is not with you. You will vomit up the little you have eaten and will have wasted your compliments.” (Prov 23:6-8NIV)

From what we see in the bible, love must be the motivation for anything we do in life (1Cor 16:14). Therefore, anything that is not based on love will be rejected by God as useless, regardless of how grand it may be in the sight of men. And since that is how it is with God, since He will not accept from our hands anything that is not based on love, we too must study not to accept from people anything that is not based on love.

The point I am making is that it is not every gift or act of kindness from people that we can accept or must accept. It is true that love does not just give but also receives. But it is not every gift that people give or everything that looks like an act of kindness or generosity from them that is borne out of love. And it will be wisdom for us to be able to tell when what someone is trying to give to us or do for us is not being motivated by love, so that we may reject it. Otherwise, someday, we may have to pay a very costly price for something that we thought was free.

For example, in our opening bible text, we are warned not to eat the food or delicacies of anyone that we know as stingy. Why? It is because stingy people always think more about the cost of what they want to give out than their relationships with those they want to give to. So, their giving is hardly motivated by love but by necessity. This being the case, you cannot trust them to give you anything of quality. And even if they should give you something of quality, it will certainly come with a price.

Now, of course, once you receive the gift or help of a stingy person, you will have to say ‘Thank you’ to them. But as Solomon further tells us in that bible text, soon enough, you will realise that you have wasted your compliments or thanksgiving. Why? It will either be because what they have given you or done for you is utterly worthless or that the price you have to pay in order to use or enjoy it is even greater than thing itself. Then you end up blaming yourself for receiving their gifts or allowing them to help you.

Therefore, if you don’t want to be wasting your compliments on anybody, if you don’t want some so-called gift or help done for you by some person to eventually become a terrible burden for you, know who you receive things from and what you receive from them. Some people are not stingy but arrogant. These ones like to boast, even to the point of exaggeration, about what they do for others. So, you can always expect them to take more credit for whatever they do for you or give to you than they deserve. And if care is not taken, at some point, they may start making everybody believe that they made you. So, regardless of how needy you may be, mark them and do your best to stay away from their help or gifts. Or someday you may regret ever receiving anything from them. (Cf. Gen 14:21-24)

Then some others only give to others and do things for them for the sole purpose of being able to use them at some point or trap them. That means their help or gift is either a bribe or a trap and not a love sacrifice (1Sam 18:20-21). You equally must do your best to stay away from their help or gifts, even if you are in serious need of what they are offering. Otherwise, whatever you receive from them may end up leading to your fall or enslavement. And may God fill your heart continually with wisdom to know what sort of help or gift is not good or appropriate for you to accept, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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