In The Pilgrim’s Progress, two characters named Gaius and Mr. Honest have a poetic exchange:
“A man there was (though some did count him mad),
The more he cast away the more he had.
He who bestows his goods upon the poor,
Shall have as much again, and ten times more.”*
There’s truth in that, isn’t there? People who are really generous can appear strange. Perhaps not at first. After all, we applaud people who are generous. Isn’t that nice. But when people are so generous that they keep at it, and that they deprive themselves of comforts in the process, heads start to turn. ‘Are they okay?’
But as Gaius and Mr. Honest remind us, helping those in need doesn’t deplete your coffers; it builds them up. It just depends on how you do the math.
Jesus says: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven…” (Matthew 6:19-20)
Sounds to me like heaven’s ledger works by a different accounting system than the one we’re used to.
“He who bestows his goods upon the poor,
Shall have as much again, and ten times more.”
–*John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress (New York: Cassell Publishing [no date given in this edition]), 338.
–Bible quotes are from the NIV.