“Do not eat the food of a stingy man, do not crave his delicacies; for he is the kind of man who is always thinking about the cost. ‘Eat and drink,’ he says to you, but his heart is not with you.” ~ Proverbs 23:6-7

I read this Proverb yesterday, and immediately felt the painful crunch of some heavy truth stepping on my toes.

I want to be a generous person. I want to be the kind of woman who slips the coat off her back for a person in the cold. Or who empties her pantry for the struggling family. Or who joyfully exchanges her one quiet night at home to soothe a lonely heart. But I have to admit …

Sometimes I think about the cost, and hold back the best for myself.

Yes, I want to be a generous person, but I don’t always want to spend myself to become that person. I know I can’t meet every need, and I understand that self-care is important at times, too. It’s not so much about needing to “do” more. I’m more concerned about the way my heart seems to be always looking out for its own best interest.

It’s Christmas, which means at some point in time I’m going to watch The Christmas Carol. And when I do, I’ll likely disdain the stingy Ebenezer Scrooge, shocked at his cold indifference to the needs around him. And later I’ll idolize the unselfish, hold-nothing-back Tiny Tim who spends all of himself to show love to the most unworthy.

But I can’t help but think the real me is often more like Scrooge than Tiny Tim. My generosity extends only as far as my comfort level allows. Although I may not always be as cantankerous or cold-hearted as the character, I’ve grown quite skilled at crafting a generosity that rarely demands any kind of personal sacrifice.

It’s a good thing God didn’t do the same. Otherwise he would’ve counted the cost and decided the manger wasn’t any place for the sacrifice of his most valuable possession.

Immanuel, the sure sign God’s heart was … IS … with us.

Do you ever struggle with Scrooge tendencies?

(photo courtesy of ba1969)

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