A couple of posts back, I brought up Lucian of Samasota’s mocking critique of Christians. The great generosity of Christians, Lucian demonstrated, left them vulnerable to swindlers. Apparently, some Christians were aware of this potential problem. The Didache, also known as “The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles,” offers a remedy. Writing in the late-1st century, the Didachist instructs Christians, “Let your gift sweat in your hands until you know to whom to give it.” This beautiful word-picture (well, maybe not so beautiful, but vivid nonetheless!) offers helpful advice: before you give, make sure you know that your gift will be well used.

The problem is that too often I just let the gift sweat and sweat. I know where the money would be put to good use (ELCA World Hunger, for one!), but I hesitate. I rationalize. I end up with a fistful of soggy dollars. What about you? In these turbulent financial times, maybe it’s time to air that gift out. There is an ever growing number of people without means, maybe you have in your hand the perfect gift for a person in dire need.

David Creech