I had a professor in seminary who told us one day that there were four stages of giving, which he then proceeded to illustrate. “The first stage is like a man who stands up in church and says, ‘Hey, everybody, look! I’m putting a hundred dollar bill in the offering!’ The second stage is when the same man puts the hundred dollar bill in the offering but does not announce the fact. However, he makes it convenient somehow for someone to find out. The third stage is when he puts the hundred dollar bill in the offering and neither makes the announcement nor makes it convenient that someone find out. But he feels so righteous.
With that the seminary professor changed the subject and started talking about something else. One of the students interrupted him, saying, “Now wait a minute, didn’t you say that there were four stages of giving?” “That ‘s right,” the professor replied, “Well then, what’s the fourth stage?” “Who knows?” the teacher replied.
FROM THE EPISCOPALIAN – BY LEX S. MATHEWS