St. Martin’s Day. 20% or 110%?

At the 11th of november, in some German and Dutch-speaking towns, there are processions of children with lanterns (Laternelaufen), sometimes led by a horseman representing St Martin. And yes, we did celebrate this back home (NL) as a kid.

In Poznań Poland, they celebrate is as well. A procession led by Saint Martin passes through the street, who receives the keys from the mayor for the castle. Traditionally, on St. Maarten, all over Poland, St. Maarten croissants and goose meat are eaten.

Sint Maarten became known because as a soldier, he gave half of his cloak to a poor beggar and after a dream chose to continue living as a Christian.

Give half of your cloak. As a child, I thought that was strange. So now Saint Martin was cold and the beggar had half a cloak? I’ve always found that strange. Half a cloak? Here you have shoes without laces, a jacket without buttons, a bicycle without tires, or half a jacket?

Reminded me of: Colossians 3:23-24

Whatever you do, whatever kind of work you are doing, work heartily, with all your heart and all the different ways that plays out in scripture, with Christ-like character, with honesty, with diligence, with integrity, with humility. So work heartily as for the Lord and not for men

Colossians 3:23-24

Half a coat? Is that really heartfelt? No idea, I can’t look into that Saint’s heart, but I’ve always found it strange as a child.

That has always been a lesson for me: do it well for the full 110% or be honest: I would like to help you, but I can’t. I’ve always found that half coat “mediocre”. That Saint had some serious money (in my childhood images), so give your old coat to the beggar, and buy yourself a new one in the next village. Everyone happy.

As sad as it may be, sometimes you have to make the choice… 1 whole coat for 1 homeless person, so that he will survive the winter, instead of a half…. and he’ll freeze to death anyway..

Choices choices, life is full of them.

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

1 Corinthians 15:58

So it’s about choices… on this side we see a lot of “see me doing good” and then for the “full”….20%…. offering help… creates expectations (finally someone who helps me oh no, not at all) and unfortunately brings quite a lot of misery.

True, something is always better than nothing, but make conscious choices. Doing the “full” 20% makes nobody realy happy… and we see that… a lot… with a huge mountain of misery that’s connected to it. Literally bicycles without tires, literally clothes without buttons…for you! Yeah…. nope… it only makes you sadder…

Then rather make a conscious choice, a tenner for something that really helps, a good bike, clean and good clothing. That makes everyone happy, and then all the little ones help a lot!

Speaking of choices:

The choice of that Saint to become a Christian is only possible if he went for it 110%. You cannot be half a Christian.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

Not a word “half” in sight.

God is also very clear about being half a semi-Christian is….. Just look at this:

15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

Revelation 3

Wow…. that’s spicy!

So, today… when kids (or a homeless person) comes to your door and ask for candy… do you eat half of it yourself first, or do they get a whole candy?? Let alone if you do something out of love for man by God. 110% or “Look at me doing good with my 20%, here’s a piece of my coat / candy”…?

Choose, for the full 110%. And yes, we know from experience that that is not always easy. On the contrary… But rest assured…. and here comes the good news:

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

Matthew 25:21

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *