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Let Jesus Hold Your Purse

I’m feeling very rich today
for Jesus holds my purse.
I need not count its scanty store
As all the assets at my door;
Behind it stands a wealthy name,
And vast resources I may claim,
Since Jesus holds my purse.

My Cashier never lets me want;
Since He controls my purse,
Debit and credit always meet.
I marvel at His counsel sweet
Concerning purchase I make
Or money given for His dear sake,
While He controls my purse.

I’d face the world in great alarm
If Judas held my purse.
He’d call the gifts of humble love
Naught but a waste; treasure above,
Uncertain quantity and poor.
My life would barren be, I’m sure
If Judas held my purse.

And thus I live a carefree life,
For Jesus holds my purse.
Since money is a sacred thing,
Both joy and sorrow it may bring.
According as we do His will,
Or find our hearts rebellious still
Let Jesus hold your purse.

Anonymous poem by Stephen F. Olford in The Grace of Giving: A Biblical Study of Christian Stewardship (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 2000) 65.

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Ferreolus of Vienne: The heart of a martyr

“Lord, I seek little of this world’s wealth. If I may only be allowed to live and serve you, I would be content. If, however, this seems too much in the eyes of those who persecute me, I am willing to give up my life before I forsake my faith.” St. Ferreolus of Vienne, Third Century Martyr

Ferreolus of Vienne in At Prayer with the Saints compiled by Anthony Chiffolo (Liguori, MO: Liguori, 1998) 14.

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Maximilian Kolbe: The generous love of God

“Who would dare to imagine that You, O infinite eternal God, have loved me for centuries, or to be more precise, from the beginning of the centuries?

In fact, You have loved me ever since You have existed as God; thus, You have always loved me and You shall always love me!…

Your love for me was already there, even when I had no existence, and precisely because You loved me, O good God, You called me from nothingness to existence!…

For me Tou have created the skies scattered with stars, for me the earth, the seas, the mountains, the streams, and all the beautiful things on earth…

Still, this did not satisfy You; to show me close up that You loved me so tenderly, You came dow from purest delights of heaven to this tarnished and tear-ridden world, You lived amidst poverty, hard work and suffering; and finally, despised and mocked, You let yourself be suspended in torment on a vile scaffold between two criminals…

O God of love, You have redeemed me in this terrible though generous fashion!…

Who would venture to imagine it?

Maximilian Kolbe is known for offering his life to save fellow prisoners at the notorious death camp at Auschwitz (1894-1941), as cited in Prayers of the Saints, ed. Woodeene Koenig-Bricker (New York: HarperCollins, 1996) 70-71.

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Wayne Grudem: Comments on the warning to the rich in James

Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. James 5:1-5

“James clearly warns against a kind of “luxury and self-indulgence” that is wrong, that shows little or not concern for others, and that does not take seriously the stewardship obligations that God bestows along with great wealth. It seems that those who are wealthy can too easily slip beyond a level of spending on themselves that is appropriate to their place in life and spend excessively and ostentatiously on themselves while neglecting to give generously to others.

Wayne Grudem in the Illumination quote on James 5:1-5 in the NIV Stewardship Study Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009) 1634.

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Hartland H. Gifford: Faithful stewardship

“Our stewardship should not be a once-and-done response. We must daily, repeatedly use God’s gracious gifts in his service. It is this that we have been called.”

Hartland H. Gifford in the illumination quote on 2 Thessalonians 3:4 in the NIV Stewardship Study Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009) 1579.

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John Baillie: A prayer for perspective

“Let me be in this world but not of it:
Let me be as having nothing yet possessing all things:
Let me understand the vanity of the temporal and the glory of the eternal:
Let my world be centered not in myself but in Thee.”

John Baillie (1886-1960), Scottish Theologian and Divinity Professor at the University of Edinburgh in All the Saints Adore Thee: Insights from Christian Classics by Bruce Shelley (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1988) 260.

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Paulinus of Nola: “Let us then Invest with the LORD!”

“We have been entrusted with the administration and use of temporal wealth for the common good, not with the everlasting ownership of private property. If you accept the fact that ownership on earth is only fleeting and for a time, then you may be ready for eternal possessions in heaven. Call to mind the widow for forgot herself in her concern for the poor and, thinking only of the life to come, gave away all her means of subsistence. To this the final judge himself bears witness. Others, he says, have given of their superfluous wealth. But she, possessed of only two small coins, and more needy perhaps than many of the poor–though in spiritual riches she surpassed all the wealthy–she thought only of the world to come, and had such a longing for heavenly treasure that she gave away, all at once, whatever she had that was derived from the earth and was destined to return there. Let us then invest with the Lord what he has given us, for we have nothing that does not come from him. We are dependent upon him for our very existence.”

Paulinus of Nola (355-431), Roman Senator, Latin Poet in Letters 34, 2-4 on Mark 12:44b in The Good Works Reader, ed. by Thomas C. Oden (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 2007) 75.

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Theodore of Mopsuestia: Remember the Saints

Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Romans 12:13

“Paul says that is right for us always to remember the saints, to regard their needs as our own, and thus to lighten their suffering.”

Theodore of Mopsuestia (c. 350-428) quoted in Staab, Pauline Commentary from the Greek Church, in The Good Works Reader, ed. by Thomas C. Oden (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 2007) 60.

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Charles Sheldon: In His Steps

In Charles Sheldon’s classic story, In His Steps, the Christian daily newspaper had lost a great deal of money because it had abandoned the guiding principle “Will it pay?” for a higher calling: “What would Jesus do?” On the brink of closing, it would need a large sum of money to fund its ongoing work. That money was committed by Virginia Page who made this humble proclamation:

“I do not want any of you to credit me with an act of great generosity. I have come to know lately that the money which I have called my own is not mine, but God’s. If I, as steward of His, see some wise way to invest His money, it is not an occasion for vainglory or thanks from any one simply because I have proved honest in my administration of the funds He has asked me to use for His glory.”

Charles H. Sheldon in In His Steps (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2004) 111.

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William Chatterton Dix: As with Gladness, Men of Old

“The church has traditionally celebrated the coming of the wise men two weeks after Christmas. But on Epiphany Sunday in 1860, William Dix (an insurance salesman) was too sick to attend church. At home in bed he read the story of the wise men and tried to apply the lesson to his own heart. The result was a new hymn that celebrated while it instructed, one that applied not only to the author, but to future generations of Christians as well. The pattern is obvious: As the wise men did–following, adoring, giving–so should we.”

As with gladness, men of old

Did the guiding star behold

As with joy they hailed its light

Leading onward, beaming bright

So, most glorious Lord, may we

Evermore be led to Thee.

As with joyful steps they sped

To that lowly manger bed

There to bend the knee before

Him Whom Heaven and earth adore;

So may we with willing feet

Ever seek Thy mercy seat.

As they offered gifts most rare
At that manger rude and bare;
So may we with holy joy,
Pure and free from sin’s alloy,

All our costliest treasures bring,

Christ, to Thee, our heavenly King.

Holy Jesus, every day
Keep us in the narrow way;

And, when earthly things are past,

Bring our ransomed souls at last

Where they need no star to guide,

Where no clouds Thy glory hide.

In the heavenly country bright,

Need they no created light;

Thou its Light, its Joy, its Crown,

Thou its Sun which goes not down;

There forever may we sing

Alleluias to our King!

William Chatterton Dix (1837-1898)

January 7th entry in The One Year Book of Hymns (Wheaton: Tyndale House, 1995).

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