Why Didn’t I Give More?

Written By Charles Christian, Indonesia

Once, while my friends and I were having dinner, a skinny boy in a worn-out t-shirt and shorts approached us to sell tissue paper.

Initially, we didn’t respond as we weren’t interested in buying any. But the boy, probably about 10, kept standing there, with a hopeful look on his face.

Finally, one of my friends asked, “How much is the tissue, brother?”

“5,000 rupiah,” he said.

She whipped out a 5,000 rupiah note (USD $0.40) from her wallet and handed it to the boy. After giving her a packet of tissue, the boy moved on to the next table.

It then occurred to me that the tissue in my car was about to run out. And since the price of the tissue the boy had quoted was the same as what I had paid the last time I bought tissue from a shop, I went up to buy a packet from the boy, just before we left the place.

As I traveled home that day, I couldn’t help but think about the boy.

How many rejections had he faced that day? How much money did he earn? Did he have enough to meet his needs? What if I had bought five packs instead of one and given him 50,000 rupiah?

Perhaps that would have allowed him to take a break for the day. Or perhaps it would have motivated him to work even harder, knowing that his efforts would pay off. Or better still, it might have led him to believe that there are people in this world who care enough about people like him.

Suddenly, I regretted that I had bought only one pack of tissue from him. At least he was trying to make a livelihood by honest means instead of begging. If I had thought about all this earlier, I would have been able to show love to someone who might be desperately craving it.

Then I realized the ugly truth: The reason why none of these thoughts had crossed my mind earlier was that I had been too preoccupied in my own needs. All I had considered was: Did I need the tissue? Was the price he quoted reasonable? What’s in it for me?

My focus had been on the “I”. It was only when I took time later to evaluate my actions that I considered the boy’s needs instead.

God wants us to consider the needs of others before ourselves. The Bible tells us in Philippians 2:3-4, “in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

In fact, Jesus goes one step further to identify himself with this group of people, saying that “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40). What this means is that any opportunity to give what we have—our time, energy, or money—to someone in need, is an opportunity to serve Jesus.

Shouldn’t that inspire us to give more, and to give often?

ODJ: On the Fringe

June 18, 2016 

READ: Mark 5:1-20 

But Jesus said, “No, go home to your family, and tell them everything the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been” (v.19).

I was once invited to an authors’ party in London. It was a posh affair with caviar and oysters and a private view of a fashion exhibition. Celebrities milled through the crowd and everyone else looked like a celebrity due to their chic fashion sense.

I was alone and couldn’t find the one contact I knew was attending the gala. Forty-five minutes later I was still standing by myself, feeling out of place and on the fringe.

Have you ever noticed how Jesus sought out people on society’s fringe—those out of place and lonely? He brought lepers back into the community (Mark 1:40-45). He drew children (that others were trying to turn away) into the spotlight (10:13-16). He focused on the disregarded and arranged dinner parties for the despised (vv.46-52; Luke 19:1-10). Jesus drew those on the fringe back into community.

This is powerfully illustrated in Jesus’ dealings with a demon-possessed man. The man was on the fringe, isolated from society because of his violence and self-abuse (Mark 5:3-5). Jesus went out of His way to meet him, venturing into Gentile territory (v.1). He freed the man of the demons that were tormenting him, and then He sent him home to reunite with his family (vv.8-19).

I decided to leave the authors’ party early. As I was about to leave, I heard someone call my name. It was Rose, my contact, who had been looking for me. Rose introduced me to others and I ended up remaining at the party all evening.

My experience of isolation that night reminds me of this truth: in most crowds there are people on the fringe who don’t fit in and can’t find their way ’in’ to the ’party’. May the love of Jesus fill our hearts so that we’ll go out of our way to bring them in.

—Sheridan Voysey

365-day plan: John 2:1-25

Read Psalm 68:5-6 and consider God’s heart for those on the fringe. 
Who sits alone at church that you can befriend? At your next party, how will you reach out to those who stand alone? How has God drawn you out of isolation? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODJ: good for the neighbourhood

November 13, 2015 

READ: Proverbs 11:1-14 

Upright citizens are good for a city and make it prosper (v.11).

In January 2015 a terrorist stormed Hyper Cacher (a Kosher supermarket) in Paris and murdered four hostages. One of the shop’s assistants, Lassana Bathily, heard the gunfire and hid shoppers in a freezer. Bathily, a Muslim whose courageous actions saved several Jews (including a child), was an immigrant who had been seeking French citizenship. To thank him for his bravery, authorities fast-tracked his papers and handed him a French passport during a public ceremony.

Bathily refused the praise. “People tell me I am a hero,” he said. “I am not a hero. I am trying to stay myself.” He believed that his courageous act was simply the right thing to do.

While this story would have been compelling at any time, it was particularly powerful as it happened during the week when terrorists went on a murderous rampage at a French magazine. At the very time when tensions between people of differing ethnicities and religions were taut, Bathily’s actions provided hope.

Proverbs tells us that “upright citizens are good for a city and make it prosper” (11:11). Whenever people humbly treat one another fairly and put others’ needs before their own or whenever neighbours choose to deal honestly and justly with one another, it leads to joy (vv.2-3,5,10). Bathily acted bravely, but it appears that his bravery was merely the continuation of the way he chose to live towards his neighbours, even those who were different from him.

—Winn Collier

365-day-plan: Acts 23:23-24:27

Read Romans 15:2 in the NIV and consider what it means to be a good neighbour. 
Where in your community do you see the need for upright citizens? How can you practically be a good neighbour to those in need? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODB: The Daily Grind

November 3, 2015 

READ: Ephesians 6:5-9 

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters. Colossians 3:23


The high school I attended required 4 years of Latin instruction. I appreciate the value of that discipline now, but back then it was a grind. Our teacher believed in drill and repetition. “Repetitio est mater studiorum,” she intoned over us several times a day, which simply means, “Repetition is the mother of learning.” “Repetitio est absurdum,” we muttered under our breath. “Repetition is absurd.”

I realize now that most of life is simply that: repetition—a round of dull, uninspiring, lackluster things we must do again and again. “Repetition is both as ordinary and necessary as bread,” said Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard. But he went on to say, “It is the bread that satisfies with benediction.”

It’s a matter of taking up each duty, no matter how mundane, humble, or trivial, and asking God to bless it and put it to His intended purposes. In that way we take the drudgeries of life and turn them into holy work, filled with unseen, eternal consequence.

The poet Gerard Manley Hopkins said, “To lift up the hands in prayer gives God glory, but a man with a [pitchfork] in his hand, a woman with a slop pail, give Him glory, too. God is so great that all things give Him glory if you mean that they should.” 

If whatever we do is done for Christ, we’ll be amazed at the joy and meaning we’ll find in even the most ordinary tasks.

— David Roper

Remind us today, Lord, that You are in the dull and ordinary tasks of life in a most extraordinary way. Let us not forget that we do even the smallest tasks for You.

A willing spirit changes the drudgery of duty into a labor of love.