2000-10-11 - Robin Hood
2 Corinthians 9:6,7 Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly; and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver.
Two popular movies came out in the 1990s regarding Robin Hood. One was a farce, "Robin Hood: Men in Tights," and the other was a more serious attempt to make a decent film, starring Kevin Costner. These have kind of made the mystery of the man Robin Hood nostalgic. But Robin Hood was a real person. He really lived. I have been reading a book titled, "English Worthies," which was published in 1684. It is a large volume which tells the stories of significant people that lived in England prior to its publication. To my surprise, on pages 561-562, it recounts the story of Robin Hood. It is not as glamorous as the movies, but I thought it might be of interest. Here it is:
"Rob. Hood, a gentle Thief, robbed Peter to pay Paul, plundering Clergymen, but relieving the poor and distressed. His principal residence was in Sherwood Forrest in this county, tho his Bay is still remembered in York-shire. He complemented passengers out of their purses, tho he never asked the Keeper's leave of Killing of Deer, and disposing of the venison amongst the Vicinage. He played his pranks in the Reign of R. 1 (Richard the first) about 1100. So much for Robin Hood."
Robin Hood … Stealing from Peter to pay Paul. It is a common phrase, but what does it mean? It seems that it means to take from one, what rightfully belongs to the first, and to give to another. This, I think, is exactly how we view Robin Hood. He took from the rich to give to those who had less. He was the first Marxist, or Communist, if you know your history.
But there is something to this for us as Christians. As Christians, we give. Many of us give sacrificially to the church, missionaries, and Christian workers throughout the world. I remember someone telling me one day, who I knew had a good job and drove an old beat-up car, "Look, I could have a new BMW every year if I wanted, but I choose to send that money to missions in Eastern Europe so the gospel can go into that land." This is an amazing attitude. What gives? Why would someone think this way? It defies logic.
Oswald Chambers once said, "Not how much we give, but how much we do not give, is the test of our Christianity." I am not for testing our faith by our works. That can become dangerous, and even damning. It can become a works righteousness. However, his statement ought to be food for thought. Many of us have much and give little compared to what we give to ourselves. I am not for taking from the rich to give to the poor, but rather I encourage a spirit of charity in all. We ought to give as Christ has given to us, and that is immeasurably.
"The love of Christ compels us," 2 Corinthians 5:14, and it ought to compel us to give joyfully to those who we are able to support, encourage, and help. It might be a big mac to the down and outer who is hungry, or it might be a new van to transport Bibles in a third world country, or it might be a simple faithful tithe to our home church, but the love of Christ compels us to give as we have been given too. We don't need more Robin Hood's, but rather, we need more faithful Christians who will serve the Lord...even when it hits our pocket books.
"The limit of giving is to be the limit of our ability to give." C. S. Lewis
Soli Deo Gloria,