If you asked twenty good men today what they thought the highest of the virtues, nineteen of them would reply, Unselfishness. But if you asked almost any of the great Christians of old he would have replied, Love. You see what has happened? A negative term has been substituted for a positive, and this is of more than philological importance.
The negative ideal of Unselfishness carries with it the suggestion not primarily of securing good things for others, but of going without them ourselves, as if our abstinence and not their happiness was the important point. I do not think this is the Christian virtue of Love. The New Testament has lots to say about self-denial, but not about self-denial as an end in itself. We are told to deny ourselves and to take up our crosses in order that we may follow Christ; and nearly every description of what we shall ultimately find if we do so contains an appeal to desire.
If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
The Art of Giving
We give of ourselves when we give gifts of the heart - love, kindness, joy, understanding, sympathy, tolerance, forgiveness.
We give of ourselves when we give gifts of the mind - ideas, dreams, purposes, ideals, principles, plans, inventions, projects, poetry.
We give of ourselves when we give gifts of the spirit - prayer, vision, beauty, inspiration, peace, faith.
We give our ourselves when we give the gift of the word - encouragement, inspiration, guidance.
Giving, after all, is to God. Remember the woman who broke the alabaster box of ointment, and was criticized. They said: “It is wasted. You cannot afford it. It should have been otherwise laid out.”
But Christ justified her, and said, “She has discerned Me; she has discerned the Lord’s body; she did it for Me, for Myself; and wherever My Gospel is preached there shall this also that this woman hath done be told for a memorial of her.”
"Give and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down and shaken together shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” ~Matthew 6:38~
Generosity is always wise. --Winston Churchill
Luther used to say that each one needed a three-fold conversion; that of his heart, his head, and his pocketbook. Someone has said that the book with the seven seals that no one could open was the pocketbook. We need to feel that every dollar in our keeping belongs to God and must be used so as to best promote the interest of His kingdom. The greatest thing you an do for God and yourself today is to consecrate everything to the Lord.
The greatest humbug in the world is the idea that money can make a man happy. I never had any satisfaction with mine until I began to do good with it. --C. Pratt