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You've been flamingoed!

Who really knows how flamingoing started?  Its origin is shrouded in the deepest of mysteries along with Stonehenge, Easter Island, and how a noun morphs into a verb.  Initially, someone probably did it as a prank.  Critical mass occurred when someone else realized the economic potential of offering to place flamingos, for a small fee, in any yard the customer designated.  Things have never been the same since.  And last but not least, the faith crowd decided to get involved.  (The faith crowd getting trendy is kind of like when you were a teen and an adult tried to speak “teen” or even worse - dress like a teenager.  It almost always has a pathetic, wannabe look to it).  Now a group flamingos your yard, and you’re expected to pay money to their cause in order to get the flamingos out of your yard and on their way to the next victim . . . er, contributor.   So it’s not all that uncommon to see a yard with a dozen or so flamingos in it and a sign that says, “You’ve been flamingoed.”
 
Maybe it’s just me but I have trouble imagining Paul flamingoing the churches of Macedonia and Achaia on behalf of the church in Judea.  I can't see him gathering Timothy, Tius, Barnabas, Silas, and together and telling them something like, "Okay guys, load your camels down with as many flamingos you possibly can and hit those yards."  It’s the same problem I have envisioning David holding a pancake breakfast to raise money for the temple, or the Christians at Philippi holding a chariot wash as a way of raising money for Paul in prison. 

I don’t want to be death on this, because as I understand it, it’s not a central issue of Scripture.  Nonetheless, when the Scripture speaks of giving (and it has much to say on this subject), there’s never anything gimmicky about it.  Giving is regarded as too important to be treated in a superficial manner.  The Scripture consistently advocates an approach that is simple, straightforward, and significant. 

By simple, I mean that there’s no fine print, hidden clauses, or confusing terms that should be involved in our decision to give.  If someone has a legitimate need and we have the ability, then we’re to give – it’s just that simple.  Being forced or flamingoed does not enter into the equation, in fact, it only muddies the waters.  We’re to give because we believe in the cause – it’s that simple and it’s important to keep it that singular.  To give because of lesser reasons is not the kind of giving Jesus talked about!

When we keep our giving simple, it’s also straightforward.  We give because of what’s in our heart and no other reason.  God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7).  Freely we have received, freely we give (Matthew 10:8).  We don’t give in order to have a chance in a timeshare or in to win something for ourselves.  Whatever that is, it’s not the giving the Scripture speaks of.  You can draw a line straight from our heart to our gift to wherever it goes.

When our giving is simple and straightforward, it is a significant barometer of where we are.  It says something about our love for our Father, who gave the greatest gift in His Son, Jesus.  It also says something significant about our love for others and the connection we have to them.  And ultimately I suppose, it says something about us.       

We don’t give because we’ve been flamingoed – we give because we’ve been crossed!  It's the difference between consumers and disciples.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life,” (John 3:16).

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich,” (2 Corinthians 8:9).

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