The following is a modernization/paraphrase of Bounds of Charity from Some Fruits of Solitude by William Penn (14 October 1644 – 30 July 1718) with some particular application following.

Don’t lend more than you can afford to lose, and don’t refuse to lend money to someone if you can afford it; especially if it can help someone else more than it can hurt you.

If your debtor is honest and able, you will get your money back, if not with interest, then with thanks. If he cannot pay you back, don’t ruin him to regain that which will not ruin you to lose. Remember that you are merely a steward and someone else is your owner, master, and judge.

The more merciful acts you perform, the more mercy you will receive; and if, by using your earthly riches charitably, you gain eternal treasure, then your purchase is infinite: You will have discovered something even better than the key to winning at the stock market or beating the casino.

Applicable Thoughts
My daughter keeps lending out pencils at school. Lending and seldom getting them back. Her generosity has denuded our supply of the wood and graphite sticks. In frustration we told her to stop giving pencils away. This word from Mr. Penn has challenged me. We’re not rolling in dough. In fact right now things are particularly tight, but a box of pencils is nothing: As Christ has said, “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much…” (Luke 16:10a ESV). I think we need to give her the go-ahead to be generous.


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