There is a tendency to cease from well doing because of the unworthy receivers of our good deeds. As I have already said, there were those in the Thessalonian church who received the gifts of the faithful, and who sat still and did nothing that was of any good, but became a pest and nuisance to their neighbours.
Now, the natural tendency of others in the church would be to say, “Well, I do not know what others think about it, but I shall give no more.” “No,” says the apostle, “be not weary in well doing.” It is bad that that man should make a bad use of thy gifts, but it will be worse still if he should induce thee to harden thy heart.
It is a loss, perhaps, to give to a man who wastes, but it will be a greater loss not to give at all. I remember one who spoke on the missionary question one day saying, “The great question is not, ‘Will not the heathen be saved if we do not send them the gospel?’ but ‘are we saved ourselves if we do not send them the gospel?’ ”
And so it is with regard to Christian gifts. It is not so much a question how far this or that man is benefited or hurt by what we give; but what about ourselves if we have no bowels of compassion for a brother that is in need? What about the hardening influence on our own soul if we get at last into this condition, that we say, “I am weary in having done what I have done, because I see to what an ill use it is turned”?
I believe that to be a common temptation of the present age, and I see that all the political economists and the newspaper men almost as good as tell us that it is one of the wickedest things we can ever do to help the poor at all—it is indeed a dreadful thing, unless we do it through that blessed machinery of the poor law, which seems to be the next thing to the kingdom of heaven in their estimation.
There seems to me to be, however, a very long distance between them, and I trust that Christian men will continually by their actions bear their protest against the steeling of the believing, Christian, renewed heart against their fellow-men because they seem to pervert the well doing into evil.
C. H. Spurgeon, “Facing the Wind,”