Of God and Gratuities: Duane W.H. Arnold, PhD

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21 Responses

  1. JoelG says:

    “Our time is spent in the pursuit of our own aims and subject to the calls of employment, familial duties ”

    Why isn’t working and taking care of family considered “giving to God”?

    “…and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you,”

  2. Em says:

    “Grudging and of necessity”… that’s when our giving is worthless … But i suspect there are other pitfalls…

    I remember a dear family, very responsible and unassuming…. Their business went south (through no fault of their own) and the man and his wife, a very dignified couple, quietly took over the janitorial responsibility at church – few knew they’d done so… I suspect God smiled

    Giving God an appropriate tip for service..?. Ouch

  3. Michael says:

    I should note that Duane is on holiday this week and I’ll try to keep up here as I can.
    Back a bit later…

  4. Duane Arnold says:

    The point of the widow is simply that she gave all. Caring for our families, etc., is indeed good. Recognizing that all we have, all that we seem to possess, all that we are belongs to God is best. It’s not complicated … it’s straight foreword …

    (BTW – Greetings from France…)

  5. JoelG says:

    The heat has me in a bad mood so delete this comment if needed. But I’d rather give my money to my wife and kid than to some behemoth of a mega-church with multiple campuses and a recording studio.

    The only thing I can give God is my sins. I’m at His mercy…

  6. JoelG says:

    I should’ve counted to 30 before posting that. Sorry Duane / Michael and behemoth Mega-Church…

    Here’s the thing… I really do want to dedicate my whole life to God. Really. But if I’m honest, there I times when I don’t really want to give or do anything. Sometimes I do (I think) and other times I do half-heartedly. Ultimately,, I need Jesus to forgive my best efforts.

    So when I hear things like this I sigh I know that what I want to do I don’t and what I don’t want to do is what I do.

    Such is life…

  7. Jean says:


    It’s 5:30 pm here. In an hour and a half, I’m supposed to attend and help officiate a congregation voters meeting, which will probably last at least 2 hours. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to it.

  8. JoelG says:



  9. Michael says:


    It’s all good.
    There’s nothing wrong with being devoted to family…it’s a good and noble, necessary, thing.
    I would even say that it’s holy.
    In this day and age there I times when I tell people to find ways to give of themselves that don’t involve giving begrudgingly.
    Invest in those places and people where it brings you joy to do so…

  10. JoelG says:

    Good advice, Michael. Thank you. I can’t do much but I’m a good listener. I enjoy paying attention to people who are usually ignored. Small things. Small kindnesses. This even I can do. 😉

  11. Duane Arnold says:

    “Invest in those places and people where it brings you joy to do so…”

    There’s a bit of wisdom.

  12. JoelG says:

    That is wisdom. But let’s not deny the reality that even those things that bring have brought joy can become a grind. But that’s ok. Just showing up is a lot for the likes of us humans.

  13. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    This is not about Duane, or Michael, but I have never seen / heard anyone teach this passage and finish off with “so based on this teaching, I am signing over my 401K and the deed to my house to the church.”
    How would it work practically? If I gave all, then wouldn’t I become a leech on the church / society? I’m asking for a friend 🙂

  14. Jean says:

    According to Ulich Luz, and here I think his interpretation has merit, in applying Jesus commands in the Sermon on the Mount, in this case about giving, one may apply the passages through the overarching principle of the golden rule.

    MLD is correct about the impossibility of the whole world becoming destitute. Even Jesus and his disciples relied on the generosity of certain people who did not give everything they had away.

    On the other hand, we do a great disservice to the text if we overestimate what prudent and modest planning and living require.

  15. Duane Arnold says:


    I’m not sure that anyone is suggesting what you state… although, in truth, that might be the calling for some, such as Francis of Assisi or Antony of the Desert. Admittedly, however, that is the exception. The point is that God does not just want part of us, he wants all of us – the giving of heart, mind, body, soul and strength. That is a calling not just for some, but for all of us to take seriously.

  16. JoelG says:


    I think you’re right that God wants all of us and we should all take it seriously. Since this is true, why does Francis of Assissi get so much honor and glory and Bob down the street who takes care of his family and works 40 hours a week get harassed by his Evangelical pastor every Sunday about not doing enough “for God”?

    Rhetorical question…. no answer needed.

  17. Duane Arnold says:

    I’m afraid that all too often “doing enough” has only to do with money. We all too often ignore the gifts of able and talented lay people. Additionally, many of these gifts are exercised outside the confines of the church in multiple works of mercy that “the pastor does not see”…

  18. Xenia says:

    I agree with Duane that it is a calling for some to give away all their material goods and live a life of Christ-centered poverty, if for no other reason than as examples for the rest of us, not to go to their extremes but to reconsider the relationship we have with our possessions. I do not think God expects everyone to give everything away but I do think He expects us to consider that every good thing we have comes from him and to (1) be grateful and (2) to use all our “stuff” for the benefit of His Kingdom.

    I remember a few years ago J2thePerson said Orthodoxy scared her because of those Saints of old who perched on pillars for years, praying. She said she didn’t think she was up for that . 🙂 I told her that this was a special calling and not to worry! I think this is the same for those who choose extreme poverty. But I think most of us are way too attached to our stuff, with me at the top of that list.
    Pretty much every day we are given the opportunity to share with others or to be self-preserving [selfish]. This by no means conflicts with doing a good job at work and being a good family man/woman. All these things work together. It’s the attitude that counts with God I think… but the attitude must be put into action, as best as our circumstances allow. After all, it is God Himself who put us in our current circumstance, be we rich or poor, and He expects us to work with what He gave us and not make excuses!

  19. JoelG says:

    I don’t think anyone’s making excuses. I’m trying to point out that we Christians tend to hold some callings higher than others. If the Spirit is calling some to a simple, ordinary life why is that looked at as “lesser” and assumed to be selfish. That’s my point.

    I realize we all have different personalities and experiences. If I can’t rest in Christ’s Work for me I’m giving up.

  20. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I don’t see a call to “Christ centered poverty” (whatever that is) at all. I don’t see the widow being a major mover in the story and I think people get confused by the chapter division and the story heading.

  21. Duane Arnold says:

    It’s a simple story with a simple point… Give God all that you are.

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