1997-02-17 - Stolen Water

The following was written by someone else, but I thought it was worthy of passing along as food for thought. As Proverbs 9: 17 says, "Stolen water is sweet …"

Civil goodness is not enough.

  • We will not practice real self-denial unless we fulfill all the duties of love. These are not fulfilled by him who merely in an external way performs his services without omitting even one, but by him who acts from a sincere principle of love. For it may happen that a man discharges his duties to the best of his abilities, but if his heart is not in them, he falls far from the mark. There are people who are known to be very liberal, yet they never give without scolding, or pride, or even insolence. We are sunk to such a depth of calamity in this awful age that scarcely any alms are given, at least by the majority of men, without haughtiness and contempt. The corruption of our times is so enormous that it would not have been tolerated by the pagans.

  • Christians certainly ought to display more than a smiling face, a cheerful mood, and polite language when they practice charity. First of all, Christians ought to imagine themselves in the place of the person who needs their help, and they ought to sympathize with him as though they themselves were suffering; they ought to show real mercy and humaneness and offer their assistance as readily as if it were for themselves. Heartfelt pity will banish arrogance and reproach, and will prevent contempt and domineering over the poor and the needy. When a member of our physical body is diseased, and the whole body has to labor to restore it to health, we do not despise this diseased member, or hold it under obligation, because it needs all this assistance.

  • The mutual help which the different parts of the body offer to each other is by the law of nature considered to be no favor, but a matter of course, which it would be cruel to refuse. Therefore, if a man has performed one service, he should not reckon himself discharged of all other duties. A rich man, for instance, who has given away part of his property and leaves the burdens for others, cannot consider himself to be excused. Every man, however important he may me, should realize that he is a debtor to his neighbor, and that love demands that he give to the limit of his ability.

This was written over 400 years ago by a man named John Calvin.

Soli Deo Gloria,