John Wesley is known for his three-fold advice: “Earn all you can, Save all you can, Give all you can.” Pondering this advice can cause one to be confused concerning the last two phrases. If you are saving all you can, then it may seem that you do not have much to give. This seems especially true for those of us who are retired and often wonder if our savings will expire before we do.
Dr. Ernest Campbell, a well known Presbyterian clergy, once preached a sermon in which he characterized the theme of our current age as: “Grab it up, Use it up, and Move on!” Correct as he may have been, it stands in stark contrast to Wesley’s advice. So how do we reconcile what is with what is ideal?
I believe we should focus our giving of time and material wealth on the basis of our need to give rather than the need of the organization or individual to receive. Giving is our affirmation of both the source and ownership of all we have. Psalm 24 affirms: “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.”