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Not Giving to Others What We Have Received for Ourselves

Posted on May 10th, 2013

Recently, three other New Life staff joined me in attending a Spiritual Formation Academy, bringing home with us varied treasures. Among those riches were the following words from Bernard of Clairvaux: “We must not give to others what we have received for ourselves; nor must we keep for ourselves that which we have received to spend on others. You fall into the latter error, if you possess the gift of eloquence or wisdom, and yet—through fear or sloth or false humility—neglect to use the gift for others’ benefit. And on the other hand, you dissipate and lose what is you own, if without right intention and from some wrong motive, you hasten to outpour yourself on others when your own soul is only half-filled.” – Great Devotional Classics: Selections from the Writings of Bernard of Clairvaux, ed. Douglas Steere (The Upper Room, 1961), p.24. I have been meditating on these lines for the past week. It is true: It may sound selfish to not give to others, at least initially, but is actually the most loving thing we can do.

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