Today, I’m going to get at some of my worst attitudes about giving. Warning: this could get pretty ugly, but one of the things we do here at the Catch is to try to get at our excuses and rationalizations so as to hopefully rid ourselves of them.
Paul encourages us to be cheerful givers. Fine and dandy, but if you have a hard time parting with your money, it’s going to be difficult to be cheerful about this. I would go so far as to say if you can’t give cheerfully, don’t bother giving at all. God is not seeking reluctant givers. He isn’t interested in your gift if you have to rip it from your own hand. Besides, He already possesses all things.
God wants us to give for our sake, not His. He is jealous for us to experience the joy of giving, not that He needs anything.
To be a cheerful giver, you have to loosen your grip on what you have.
Fallacy: I’m waiting until I have enough to give rather than to give out of what I already have. What I’m really saying here is that I’m waiting until I have so much that it won’t hurt me to part with some of it. Boy, I can smell that from here. Question: When is that ever going to happen? Probably not in my lifetime. It’s about attitude, not ledgers. If I hold on to what I have, I will never have enough. If I give of what I have, I will always have enough. If I wait until I have, I will never give. It’s all about attitude.
A perfect illustration of this comes from a story sent to me yesterday by Adrienne. At 25, she was living with her boyfriend and pregnant for the second time. Convinced she didn’t want this second pregnancy to end in an abortion like the first one, she decided to keep the baby — a decision she ended up making alone. It was at this time that God came into her life.
I wanted to have my own place to live because I thought it would be better for my son. Without even looking for a place, one landed in my lap. I went back to school for four years. I had five part time jobs, none paid very much. Some weeks, I only earned $50. But in all that time, there was always enough money to pay the bills. When my son was 2, we were both baptized and I tithed to the church. I didn’t understand how or why my finances worked at that point in my life. It didn’t seem to add up or make sense. But I think I understand it now. Without knowing it at the time, I allowed God to do His work by saying yes to that baby.
There was a lot at that point in my life that was hard, but overall it was such a blessing to have the singular focus that I did to care for my son, now 17. God does amazing things. I am so glad He is generous with His Mercy and that He has been so patient with me.
Don’t you love her comment: “It didn’t seem to add up or make sense?” That’s God’s economy. Like Jesus noticing a widow gave a “mite,” which was all that she had, and He said she gave more than all the rest.
Jesus said that when we give, we shouldn’t let one hand know what other hand is doing. In context, He was meaning not to give as a show, as the Pharisees did, but to give secretly and our heavenly Father who sees everything will reward us. But I have another meaning for this. If you are a reluctant giver, like me, and have a hard time parting with your money, make one of those hands a cheerful hand, and give with that one. Go ahead, slip one over on that other miserly hand! Shhh! It will never know!