Arrogant Pride Misses The Spirit Of Generosity, Part 2

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Remember the scene from yesterday’s post? If you haven’t read the story yet or watched the video, I would encourage you to do so before continuing on. CLICK HERE.

The example of the beggar on the street giving away money may give us a glimpse into the true condition of many people. The folks in the story erupted like volcanoes. They were filled with wrath toward this street person.

His offering of gifts and grace repulsed and angered the passers-by. They felt insulted, incensed and irate. They cursed.

I believe there are two reasons for this:

  1. They deemed the offer to be lacking worth. The free gift of $1 was not worth receiving in their opinion. They did not value what the beggar wished to give to them.

  2. They deemed the $1 offer to mean they had a need and they did not see themselves as having a need for $1. They felt degraded, belittled and enraged.

In like manner, will these folks hate God and blaspheme Him throughout eternity, grinding their teeth at His offer of the “free gift” of eternal life (Romans 5:15,16; 6:23)?

Will they deem the free gift as having no worth to them and refuse the gift because they have no need for such a gift?

Do they feel the message says they are worse off than they feel themselves to be and they can’t stand how that makes them feel?

Do they hear what Jesus declares about them and reject it? Revelation 3:17 says,

“... you say, ‘I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,’ and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked…”

Some of the people on the street declared to the beggar, “I am rich, not poor. I am wealthy, not miserable. I am good, not wretched like you.”

They swore in hostility and with contempt at the suggestion that they needed something from a beggar! Did he not know who they were? They were in need of nothing he could offer.

Let me add that, technically, the beggar’s offer is without substance. Who needs $1 from a beggar? Strictly speaking, his offer has no real worth and meets no real need. I get that. Likewise, the analogy of “Beggar Jesus” offering us the free gift of eternal life could also break down.

On the other hand, what if a billionaire planted the beggar there to give away a dollar and all who received the free gift would receive $1 million dollars a year for the rest of his life?

Would not the passers-by receive that offer? Or would they declare, “You are a poor beggar on the street. I have more important things to do than listen to this foolish message. I have a bigger barn to build. I do not believe you! Who in their right mind would believe that if I receive this $1, I will receive $1 million every year?”

In like manner, many people today hear that God offers them the free gift of eternal life through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross for their sin, an offer that is priceless and meets their need for God’s forgiveness, but strangely only a few accept this offer. They reject the message as foolishness.

Jesus was nothing more than a poor carpenter who got himself murdered. They do not believe this offer has any value to them and they do not believe they have a need it.

Do people reject the message of Jesus Christ--the One poor in spirit, the humble servant who washes feet, the One who had no stately form that we should be attracted to Him, the One who died on the Cross for their sin--because they do not understand His offer?

Or, do they reject Him because they do understand the offer and find the proposition foolhardy?

This thought drives me crazy, but is it true?

Some would rather live forever cursing the Servant God than to receive the free gift of forgiveness offered by the Son of God. They refuse Christ’s generous and kind offer. It does not rank in their hearts and minds as having priceless value and insults them by declaring they are in need of what God provides.

Thus they scream at the Son of God, “No thanks, you Son of…"

Arrogant pride misses the spirit of generosity.

What about you?

Are you the type who would angrily reply, “First, that offer of his dying on the cross for me means nothing to me. It has no value to me, and certainly no more than an offer of $1. Jesus is nothing more than a Jewish peasant who Rome crucified. And, second, I have no need of the offer. I am doing quite fine. I resent the ‘in your face’ message that I am a sinner. I need no forgiveness. I need no saving.”

If these people on the street show us anything, they show us that a percentage of people walking about miss the spirit of Christ’s generosity as they miss the spirit of generosity in the beggar.

Do you see yourself as a self-made person who lives his own independent life?

Are you repulsed by the idea of receiving what our humble, servant God offers?

Painfully, do you prefer to enter timelessness with a clinched fist and a cursing tongue?

As those who cursed on the street, do you prefer this posture over one of humility, worship, thanksgiving and admiration of virtue?

-Dr. E