Many times I read about the waiting virgins and oil, aghast that the wise would not share with the foolish. When the groom came in the middle of the night and the foolish virgins asked, the wise virgins said, "No, there won't be enough for us and for you. Go instead to those who sell oil, and buy some for yourselves." (Matthew 25:1-13)
My initial response would have been to share--or to give up my place in line. Isn't that what Jesus did? He gave His life for me, the least I could do is give to others. Or that's what I was taught. That's what I believed and lived.
The problem is that Jesus' purpose and intent was the cross. He was obedient to His Father in giving His life. And He gave His life once--once for all. Once for all time. Once for all people. Once.
God did not create me to give to everyone, all the time.
That is what many children are taught. That is what women are taught. It is what people say. But it isn't right. Or biblical. Or wise. And, often, it is taught for the ease, convenience and benefit of those with authority--not for the benefit of those in their care or under their authority.
Instead, regardless of my gender, position and station in life, God has given me responsibility.
The parable that follows this one (Matthew 25:14-30) is about a man who entrusted his possessions to his servants. In the time he was gone, the servants didn't give them willy-nilly to those in need or want. They stewarded, invested, and multiplied them with the exception of the one who hid the talent and did nothing.
The body God gave me is mine to steward. Not foolishly spend. Not foolishly give away.
The mind God gave me is mine to steward and use to wisely multiply God's goodness.
The Spirit/spirit God has given me is mine to steward in ways that accurately reflect the Giver.
The strength God gives me is mine to steward in ways that reflect Jesus' earthly life, values, and ministry.
When/If I piddle them away or give them to fools, I am not using them the way God intended, for the purpose of righteousness.
When I am nice, I use what God has given to feel good about myself momentarily. These good feelings are based on a fickle reaction of others. Being nice is nothing more than manipulating an outcome that paints me in a good light. But it is not sustainable. It is not healthy for me because it isn't authentic or true. It isn't loving. And it isn't godly stewardship.
When we teach people to be nice, to give to everyone, all the time, especially those in authority, we create an ungodly, human, sinful system. When those with fewer resources are punished for not giving or for not doing what is asked, it's time to step back and look at the process that got them there.
God does not call anyone--not His people, not the poor, weak, those under authority--to give to fools. Instead, He instructs us to guard our hearts, to discipline our bodies, to renew our minds. Then, from a place of stability and strength, one day we will hear Him say, "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; I was naked and you clothes me; I was sick and you took care of me; I was in prison and you visited me.... Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." (Matthew 25: 36-36, 40)
These are outcomes of discipline and wise living. Wisdom is not nice.