“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21
As we approach the Thanksgiving season, our attention is drawn to the importance of demonstrating “thankful hearts”. More than ever Louise and I are so thankful for our faith, our health, our family, and our abilities that we pray will be used for God and His Kingdom. We are especially grateful that people like you who lovingly support and encourage our ministry with your prayers and gifts.
Our family has been blessed to both give and receive. And without a doubt, it is special to give those surprises to people who least expect it at a time that is critical to their needs. It is always enjoyable for us to provide a meal to the homeless or to encourage a veteran in route to visit his or her family. To lend support to a weary first responder or encourage a broken-hearted pastor.
When thinking about the joy that we receive in giving, I’m reminded of a story that unfortunately reflects the opposite feeling when a person becomes a hoarder of possessions.
Charles Osgood reported this story during one of his broadcasts.
Mrs. Bertha Adams, 71 years old, died alone in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Easter Sunday. The coroner’s report read: “Cause of death… malnutrition.” She had wasted away to fifty pounds.
When the state authorities made their preliminary investigation of Mrs. Adams’ home, they found a veritable “pigpen… the biggest mess you can imagine.” The woman had begged food from neighbors’ back doors and gotten what clothing she had from the Salvation Army. From all outward appearances she was a penniless recluse. But such was not the case.
Amid the jumble of her unclean, disheveled belongings, the officials found two keys to safe-deposit boxes at two different local banks. In the first box were over 700 AT&T stock certificates, plus hundreds of other valuable certificates, bonds, and solid financial securities, not to mention a stack of cash amounting to nearly $200,000. The second box contained $600,000. Adding the net worth of both boxes, they found well over a million dollars.
Osgood, reporting the story on CBS radio, announced that the estate would probably go to a distant niece and nephew, neither of whom dreamed their aunt had a thin dime to her name.
Don’t you wonder about this woman? Why would anyone deprive themselves of food or not helping others in need? Frankly, I don’t get it. I’ve spoken at many funerals and I’ve never seen a hearse pulling a U-Haul trailer behind it.
In fact. funeral homes will supply a nice suit for the deceased if the grieving party can’t find an appropriate one for the occasion. Interesting to note that they are specially made suits and don’t have any pockets to them.
I believe Bertha Adams wasn’t saving her money; she was worshiping it… hoarding it… gaining a perverted satisfaction out of watching the stacks grow higher as she shuffled along the streets wearing the garb of a beggar.
I’m convinced that it is important to save, to be a wise steward’s of God’s money, to invest in the future, and to properly manage our funds. But I have trouble finding one word of scriptural support for being a tightwad! How can a person ignore the needs of people so close to them or more importantly forget about that eternal rewards God has in store for those who can give to assist others? As the apostle Paul stated: “Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account.” Philippians 4:17
Show me a Christian who has a grateful heart, one who is generous, openhanded, visionary, a spiritually minded giver, and I’ll show you a fulfilled, joyful person who has a vision for Kingdom work. Praise God for the cheerful givers!
Can you think of someone whom you could bless in a special way this holiday season?
What can your family do to assist someone who has recently gone through a trial or major loss?