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What to Bestow?

Christian misers, beware!

The Celtic Revival: Celtic Christian Worldview (11)

What to bestow for Christ
they will not, all misers
lose out of season;
after them others gather.
Living but little themselves,
they scarce venture to give to God;
to death they leave their all,
they keep nothing of themselves.

  - Columbanus, “Poem on the World’s Impermanence,” Irish, 7th century[1]

“For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.”

  - Matthew 25.29

“Living but little themselves…” These words in no way describe the Christians of the Celtic Revival, especially not those peregrini pro Christo like Columbanus. God had bestowed on them the gift of everlasting life. They bestowed on Him all their time, possessions, attention, and strength.

And they fostered a revival that lasted four centuries.

That line could, however, describe a great many Christians in our day, who are so busy trying to make their Christian faith something that works for them, that they have never learned the cross-bearing power of giving themselves away to others. They seek mainly that Christ should bestow on them – peace, happiness, assurance, friends, a fun church, complete deliverance from worries. And they have almost no sense of what Jesus calls them to bestow for Him.

They’re right where Satan wants them to be.

Such are Christian misers, folk who, endowed with gifts and opportunities for serving the Lord, foolishly keep that precious bounty on the shelf rather than risk it among the uncertainties of the unbelieving world. So many unforeseen things can happen when one ventures to love his neighbor, begin a conversation about the Gospel, take up some work of charity, give selflessly to others, or stand up for truth in some matter of social or cultural moment.

Best to leave one’s good intentions safe in the heart or mind, rather than risk losing or bruising them in some reckless act of publicly identifying with Jesus.

Christian misers are excellent at counting their blessings. Day by day they offer up thanks and praise to God for the many and abundant good gifts they have received. And, just to make sure they don’t lose any of those gifts, or foolishly squander them in some ill-conceived venture of service, they keep them secure in a vault in their soul, where they may review and enjoy them at leisure.

Of course, Christian misers knows that a day is coming when the Giver of every good gift will require an accounting of what they have done with His largesse. But that is still many years off, they reckon, and even when it happens, are they not forgiven and safe in Jesus? Does not Jesus love them just as they are? Does He not understand and bear with their fears and concerns? And will they not therefore be received into Jesus’ heavenly mansion, where many more wonderful gifts await?

Not according to Jesus Himself, who judges such miserliness by saying, “cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 25.30).

The “unprofitable servant” is the one who, greatly endowed for the purpose of glorifying God in this present world, excuses himself from service and buries his endowments in the ground for safe keeping. He bestows nothing toward the Lord or His Kingdom, on his friends or neighbors, or on the lost. He has good reasons for this, of course: no time for ministry, little confidence in his gifts, best left to someone else, not convenient at this time, and so forth.

And what shall become of Christian misers? They shall be seen to have been Christian in name only. What has been bestowed on them will be confiscated and redistributed, their hopes for a place in heaven will be dashed, and they will be consigned to bitter weeping forever.

If in any way we are misers with the endowments of God, friends, let us hasten to repent.

God gave us the supreme Gift of His only Son, so that we might be saved. Let us not fail to use the many endowments and opportunities provided us each day to thank, honor, and praise our so generous God.

For Reflection
1. What do you consider to be the endowments God has given you (1 Cor. 4.7)?

2. Are you confident you are using these for the Lord and His Kingdom? Explain.

Psalm 32.8, 9 (Hendon: Take My Life and Let It Be)
Teach me, Lord how I should live; sound instruction ever give.
Let me never stubborn be; let Your eye watch over me.
Let Your eye watch over me.

Faith together with works, eagerness with steadfastness – let these, Lord, be the hallmarks of my service in Your Name, and let me use my endowments each day to…

Thank you
Thanks so much to those of you who faithfully support the work of The Fellowship of Ailbe. God uses your gifts and prayers to reach thousands of people every day in over 160 countries. We praise the Lord for His having moved and enabled you to share with us in this ministry.

If you’re not a supporter of this ministry, won’t you please prayerfully consider making a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe? Only God can move you to do this, and we believe He intends to support this ministry from within the ranks of those who are served by it. If this includes you, please seek the Lord in this matter. You can click here to donate online with your credit card or through Anedot or PayPal, or send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.

T. M. Moore, Principal
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All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


[1] Walker, p. 183.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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