What does a story told by a sixth-century monk teach us about giving?

February 22, 2013

A reflection on linen underwear, donuts, and what giving is all about
Amy Frykholm, associate editor of the Christian Century, shares what she learned from a sixth-century wandering monk and one of the stories he told. It’s about a generous “friend of Christ” in ancient Antioch who gathered up various items to distribute to poor people.  One day he brought some Egyption-made linen undergarments to give out to people in need.  Read about what happened next —and why Amy Frykholm said the story’s message spoke directly to her (and no doubt will speak to us as well).

Letha Dawson Scanzoni
Letha Dawson Scanzoni (1935-2024) was an independent scholar, writer, and editor, and the author or coauthor of nine books. In 1978, she and Virginia Ramey Mollenkott wrote Is the Homosexual My Neighbor?, one of the earliest books urging evangelical Christians to rethink their views on homosexuality (updated edition, 1994, HarperOne). More recently, Letha coauthored (with social psychologist David G. Myers) What God Has Joined Together: The Christian Case for Gay Marriage (HarperOne, 2005 and 2006). Another of Letha’s most well-known books is All We’re Meant to Be: Biblical Feminism for Today, coauthored with Nancy A. Hardesty (Word Books, 1974; revised edition, Abingdon, 1986; updated and expanded edition, Eerdmans, 1992). Letha served as editor of Christian Feminism Today in both its former print edition (EEWC Update) and its website for 19 years until her retirement in December 2013.


  1. This speaks to me of living out of a sense of abundance rather than a sense of scarcity. I find this hard to do, because so much of the world, both near and far, is convulsed in suffering, violence, and poverty. But I think Jesus calls us to the way of abundance, a mystery to embrace and try to live in, despite how illogical it seems. I don’t understand this, though, and I have lots to learn . . .

  2. To clarify my comment above, I am not referring to material abundance but to a spirit of abundance coming from God, which enables us to live in and with grace, hospitality, love, joy, gratitude, and peace–even in the face of hardship and pain.


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