19 Jul “Finding Joy In Giving” by Christina Gibson
I don’t know about you, but I love going shopping for my children. There’s a certain “rush” I get when I buy them little surprises. Something I know they will love; something I know that they will appreciate or use. It doesn’t matter what I have to sacrifice – money I could have used for something more practical, or precious time spent waiting in long lines. It’s worth the knowledge that I can give back to them even a portion of the happiness and reward they have given to me, just by being my daughters. I don’t expect anything in return (okay, maybe a hug would be nice!), it’s all about the feeling I get from “giving with a cheerful heart” (1 Corinthians 9:7).
Why can so many of us relate to the anecdote above, but do not feel the same way when it comes to giving to and for the Church? Suddenly, the sacrifice might not seem all that worth it, and we decide not to make it. Others of us may still give, but “reluctantly or under compulsion” (1 Corinthians 9:7). Then there are those of us who give publicly with the desire to gain favor with others, disregarding Christ’s words in Matthew 6:2-4 about the secret nature of giving.
The Bible contains countless examples of sacrificial giving. We read about the poor widow who gave her last cent (Mark 12:41-44). About Paul, who suffered physical pain and ultimately death to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles (2 Corinthians 11:25), and Timothy, who sacrificed his youth to be mentored by Paul in order to further the Gospel message (Philippians 2:19-22). About so many men throughout the Old Testament who gave their time and bodies to build God’s temples, and of course God, who gave us His only Son (John 3:16), and Jesus, who gave His Life for us (1 John 3:16).
Now think about what our church would look like if we adopted the same attitude about giving to our children towards giving to God and His Church. We would happily sacrifice anything we have to, because we want to give back to God just a small portion of what He has given to us, simply by being our Father. If we saw giving – giving of our time, giving of our money, giving the dedication of our prayer lives, giving with our physical abilities – giving all of these things not just as an obligation, but because we want our Father to be as pleased with us as our children are when they open those special gifts. If we gave freely because we knew that God can use every story and every person and every dollar and every minute and every finger that we lift for His glory. Imagine the works God could accomplish with servants who viewed giving in this way?
“Freely you have received; freely give.” (Matthew 10:8)