Discovering the Wisdom of When Not to Give

Matthew 25:8-9ย ย And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.

There is great wisdom for the giving heart in this text. Often we are taught when TO give, but seldom are we taught when NOT to give; there needs to be balance. Some guidelines can be drawn which will help us to know when to give and when not to give.

First, let us consider the fact that the ones asking for assistance were foolish. We know that they were foolish because they set out on a journey, and didnโ€™t even think about the fact that when they got down the road, they would eventually run out of oil and need more. We then conclude that they had absolutely no plans whatsoever.

Secondly, let us consider how quickly and easily it was for them to ask others to give of their own much-needed oil to help compensate for their own ignorance. We know then that these foolish virgins were selfish and inconsiderate, assuming that others would just fix their mistakes. I once heard it said, โ€œYour lack of planning is not my emergency.โ€ I say, โ€œAmen!โ€

The third thing I wish to point out is that they under-estimated what it was going to take to make the journey. Thinking that the wise would have enough to go around for everyone, they were startled when the wise answered thus, โ€œNot so; lest there be not enough for us and you:โ€ In life, and especially in ministry, we will come across those who make no plans, who are selfish, who are inconsiderate, and who have no clue how much it would actually take to go around.

If the giving heart is not careful, he will give until he has nothing left, and the one he gave will still be empty-handed because of their foolishness, and the fact that they never learn. Therefore, it is imperative that we properly manage the resources that God has blessed us with, using wisdom every step of the way. If not, what God has blessed us with will run out, and then weโ€™ll be trying to blame God for not supplying, when in fact we were the guilty party, not using the wisdom He gave us to do things right. So, before you give, make sure that it is not going into a bag with holes in it!

~ Pastor Gary Caudill
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