1 Corinthians 13:3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. NKJV
Paul now turns his focus to these Corinthian believers and to us of the matter of giving. Certainly Paul had taught them during his year and a half spent with these believers in Corinth that we are but stewards of what we have and it all belongs to God, therefore, Paul paints this rather dramatic picture of someone showing such outward selflessness by giving up all of their earthly material resources to feed the poor without it being the product of the outpouring of God’s Love poured into them would be all done in vain. Paul surely knew of Judas Iscariot’s betrayal of our Lord Jesus Christ despite him being one of the original twelve disciples chosen by our Lord Jesus Himself and how he pretended or acted or played the role of caring for the poor when in reality he never did anything to help the poor but stole money from our Lord and his fellow disciples. The Apostle John documents for us a particular time when Mary (Lazarus’ sister) bought some expensive perfume and anointed our Lord Jesus with it and this was Judas’s response and our Lord’s response to Judas, “But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, said, ‘Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people?’ Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it. Therefore Jesus said, ‘Let her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of My burial. For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me.’” (John 12:4-8). The point of documenting this discourse is to highlight what the Apostle Paul is conveying with this picture of an apparent act of such selflessness because more often than not it is just that an act by many people who pretend to care about the poor (many Politicians & false Preachers), but instead they themselves are profiting off of the poor.
There are today hundreds, if not thousands, of organizations that are non-profit (which means tax exempt) that receive millions of dollars in donations every year and the problem of hunger around the world persist. Most of these organizations are run by men and women who earn a great comfortable living from their salary with the non-profit and still most of the donated money never makes it to the adults and children who are hungry. Their organizations to feed the poor is not motivated from a heart filled with God’s Agape Love, but instead it stems from a conscience of guilt and being in this pursuit brings them some perceived ease of a guilty conscience (Matthew 6:1-2). Angelina Jolie has a foundation the Jolie-Pitt Foundation dedicated to eradicating extreme rural poverty, protecting natural resources and conserving wildlife, donated $1 million to Doctors Without Borders another humanitarian organization created by doctors and journalists in France in 1971. I am not picking on or singling out Ms. Jolie, but she made this statement back in 2000 when asked the question, Is there a God? “Hmm... For some people. I hope so, for them. For the people who believe in it, I hope so. There doesn’t need to be a God for me. There’s something in people that’s spiritual, that’s godlike. I don’t feel like doing things just because people say things, but I also don’t really know if it’s better to just not believe in anything, either.” (AV Club, September 6, 2000).
She also made this statement, “We spend a lot of time [at our house in Cambodia]. And I’m learning about Buddhism and I’m teaching him (Maddox her adopted son from Cambodia) what I can. He spent a lot of time in temples with monks and he’s learning” (AsianConnections.com. August 11, 2003). Paul is clearly warning those in Corinth and all in every generation that the act of giving is not what matters nor does the amount of the gift or giving, but it is all important and only important the source or the well or the fountain of the heart that renders the gift or giving motivated by a renewed, regenerated, and resurrected heart intent singularly and solely on the Glory of Jesus Christ being manifested in their giving, for we must always recall and remember what our Lord Jesus spoke through the Prophet Isaiah when he said, “For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away” (Isaiah 64:6). This is an eternal truth that Angelina Jolie and billions more like her are completely ignorant of and they suppose that their perceived “good deeds” will gain them a better place after death as Ms. Jolie made this statement, “I’ve been crazy in my life, and I’ve been wild in my life, I’ve never been a bad person. I’ve never intentionally hurt other people just to hurt them. And I’m trying to do a lot of good things with my life” (ABC 20/20, July 11, 2003).
Sadly today many young Muslim men are being taught Jihad of the sword where they are to even die a martyrs death and kill as many infidels (non-Muslims, especially Jews and Christians) as possible and in blowing themselves up they will enter into paradise where 70 virgin women will be awaiting them for an eternity of sexual pleasure and making of angelic babies. Paul declares this and any other act of martyrdom minus agape love is worthless nothing and like the Muslim men will end in an eternity in hell and not paradise. The love of God working in the heart compels men and women to stand for our Lord Jesus Christ, even if that means death, but it is done because of our love for Him and not for some promised eternity of sexual gratification, for these are the words of Polycarp (AD 69-AD 155) as he was about to be burned to death for his refusal to sacrifice to pagan gods and acknowledge the Roman Emperor as Lord he said, “You threaten me with fire which burns for an hour, and is then extinguished, but you know nothing of the fire of the coming judgment and eternal punishment, reserved for the ungodly. Why are you waiting? Bring on whatever you want.” In stark contrast to the present day Muslim men who killed themselves and others from pure hatred, Polycarp back then and many Christians today die because they manifest and express the Agape Love of God even to the death of their bodies.
“Should all a man has be laid out in this manner, if he had no love, it would profit him nothing. There may be an open and lavish hand, where there is no liberal and charitable heart. The external act of giving alms may proceed from a very ill principle. Vain-glorious ostentation, or a proud conceit of merit, may put a man to large expense this way who has no true love to God nor men. Our doing good to others will do none to us, if it be not well done, namely, from a principle of devotion and charity, love to God, and good-will to men.” Matthew Henry
“If I do it from any selfish or sinister motive; if I do it from fanaticism, obstinacy, or vain-glory; if I am deceived in regard to my character, and have never been born again. It is not necessary to an explanation of this passage to suppose that this ever had been done, for the apostle only puts a supposable case. There is reason, however, to think that it has been done frequently; and that when the desire of martyrdom became the popular passion, and was believed to be connected infallibly with heaven, not a few have been willing to give themselves to the flames who never knew anything of love to God or true piety. Grotius mentions the instance of Calanus, and of Peregrinus the philosopher, who did it.” Albert Barnes
“The very sad reality for people like Angelina Jolie (and all outside of our Lord Jesus Christ) is that they are so fixed and focused in their working to pull themselves up by the boot straps and make themselves better people, they miss the truth about themselves that they are born with the disease of sin and no amount of human effort (as some Muslims define Jihad as ‘exerted effort’) will cure the disease.” Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reade, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…