Magnificent Obsession

I just finished a book I read a long time ago as a young person.  The title, Magnificent Obsession, is the same title used for two movies made from the book, and a TV series was also spun off from the book and movies titled Dr. Hudson’s Secret Journal.   I also watched the tv series as a young person.

The idea behind the story is that doing good deeds in secret results in spiritual power for the doer.  It comes from a bible verse:  “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret.  Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”  Matt 6:3,4.  

Of course, the book is a novel, so anything that happens as a result of the secret giving is fictional, but the words of Jesus are not fiction to anyone who believes the bible.  They contain a promise that God does reward secret charity.  What if, as the thesis of the book suggests, a great many of us decide to test this out?  What if we invest our excess of time, talent and treasure in people, rather than traditional places?  What if we ask those people to please keep the transaction a secret?  If they want to pay us back, we have to tell them we’ve already been paid back, and to pay it forward instead.  Instead of the good one person can do in a lifetime, we may be multiplying good through many lives and it may be carried on beyond our lifetimes.  Do we believe the promise of God that there is a reward?  Our giving will not leave us paupers.  Many other words of Jesus promise that our giving will never leave us barren.  “Give and it will be given to you, full measure, pressed down and running over.”  Luke 6:38.   Wouldn’t it be a grand experiment to try this just for this year?  After all, we’re only giving what we can’t keep anyway.  Invest wisely and prayerfully, invest where it can grow.  “Remember this:  whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.  Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.  And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”  2Cor 9:6-8


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