Giving. It’s a simple enough concept. We pay our bills, run our errands, and live our lives. Then on Sunday, we give whatever time, energy and money we have left over – and don’t feel we need – to God’s work. That makes us good Christians, we get the tax write off and life can continue. Believe it or not, God doesn’t need our money. He doesn’t need our time. He doesn’t need our energy. Quite frankly, the God who created you, me, and everything around us is quite capable of getting things done whether we participate or not. However, how awesome is it that this very same God who created everything, is allowing us to partner with Him. The point of our giving – of time, energy and finances has little to do with God’s need for these items, but more about our obedience to Him. He calls us to have no other Gods (or idols), and Jesus explains in Matthew that Man cannot serve two masters, specifically God and ourselves. How often do our time, energy and finances become an idol; something we put all of our focus on, place all of our trust in, and boast about it. We want everyone to know when we have extra time (time), how we spend it (energy) and what we’ve just bought or banked (finances). How many of our neighbors know as much about our churches, our faith, or our God as they do about the time we have, what we do with it, and how much money and “stuff” we have? It is no longer, “In God We Trust,” but it becomes, “In Me I Trust.” I don’t know about you, but most days I’m doing good to get up, get showered and get to work on time. I don’t really trust that I can take care of myself for all eternity.
Throughout the Hebrew Scriptures we can see God clearly explaining the idea of sacrifice to the Children of Israel time and again. He called for their first fruits (the ones that ripened before the others), the fattest and most healthy livestock, and their holy places to be adorned with gold and silver. He required this so the children of Israel would be reminded that God and God alone was first. Before the world was, God is, was, and always will be!
I think I’d trust God long before I trust myself, and I’m ever thankful of the grace and love he showers upon me daily, and I’m sure most of you would agree. But do our actions reflect this desire? I know on most days mine don’t. It might be deciding that writing the church newsletter could wait a few hours (or days). It may be that I decide to sleep in on Sunday and not to go to church early to help set up because I know people will get it done whether I’m there or not. It may even be deciding that I should hold on to some extra cash just in case something happens. But then God reminds me that He takes care of the sparrows, and He will always take care of me. His ways are higher than mine, and though I don’t always understand them, this is the wisdom God’s given me through recent experiences. God doesn’t need me to run the world, however despite my many shortcomings He still allows me to partner with Him, and be a part of something greater than I could ever be on my own. He allows me to share the wisdom He’s given me to my church family in our monthly newsletter. He allows me to help set up the chairs and run the sound system so I can have a part in creating a church home for many people. He allows me to share my finances to help spread His good news through my church home as well as Compassion International. The more I give my time, energy and financial resources to His work, the more I find myself wanting to boast about my faith, my church and my God.
And therein lies the point of giving: That we are able to share the blessings God gives us with those around us.