- Fr. Howard Thompson
I cannot give what I do not have. This principle is not just limited to the material things in life, but extends also to the spiritual. I can always pray for others. I can share my material blessings to enrich others. I can offer love and compassion to all. But when the material items are limited or absent, then I am restricted in what I can share. Additionally, if I allow anger to control me, or I am full of bitterness, then these are what I give to others. It is important to keep taking stock of our lives in the context of prayer with our God. This enables us to view what it is we are giving or withholding in our relationships. Paul and Silas were both filled with love for God and His people. So they withheld any anger and hate that could stem from being beaten and imprisoned. Instead, they praised God and radiated faith in their situation. This led to the conversion of the family of the jailer (Acts 16:22-34). We who worship Jesus the risen Lamb and Lord, need to constantly assess if what we give, or cannot give, is leading to the conversion and growth of the people we encounter in our lives. Since God is love, we need to abide in Him so that we give unlimited love and mercy to others. Since God is light, we need to withhold the darkness of anger and fighting that is in each of us. May what we give always be directed by God for His glory. Lord Jesus, You gave Your life willingly for the salvation of the world. Teach us to know what to give and what to withhold, so that we will all grow in Your love. Amen.