You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.
2 Corinthians 7-8
When my husband and I got married, we read a book from James Dobson about marriage. One thing that stuck with me was giving back to God through our finances. We decided from the very beginning we were going to tithe. On a college budget, that was a big “sacrifice.” But we were faithful in giving, and God was faithful in providing. We have never lacked anything we needed.
When we moved into our first home, pregnant with our first child money was tight. We had a mortgage and we could have easily been tempted to skip tithing to pay off our mortgage sooner. But as we grew in our walk with the Lord and as our family grew, we felt moved to not only tithe but also give “offerings” (What???? As if things weren’t tight enough!). This was additional money we set aside for missionaries, families in need, or other areas we felt God was calling us to give. When our finances thinned out we remained faithful in giving. And you know what, God always provided.
We continue to make tithes and offering a priority in our lives. We have taught our children to tithe, save, and spend. We also try to open our hearts to give spontaneously as God puts it on our hearts. It takes a little effort to make a big impact. For instance, in the rare times I go to a coffee shop if I feel God’s prompting, I will buy a gift card and leave it with the cashier to pay for the next 2-3 people’s coffee until the card runs out. I am never there to see what happens, but if God put it on my heart, I do it. I believe someone just needed to feel God’s touch right at that moment.
When I look back on God’s faithfulness in providing for us, I still find myself not giving cheerfully. I get caught up in the budget number crunching and get anxious. I start holding tight to whatever dollars I have left in my wallet at the end the month. If God prompts me to give, I start whining, complaining, and asking God why I can’t just keep it for myself. After all, I “deserve” a treat. But when I give from the little that I have left, it is far more of a sacrifice than giving from the abundance at the beginning of the month. You see, it is not that God doesn’t want us to have treats, or blessings, or special things. He has blessed us more than we even realize. But when He calls us to give, we should give cheerfully because He always provides everything we need and plenty leftover to share.
This year, one of my goals is to be more of a cheerful giver. Not only money but time and talents. I love to give of all those things, but I sometimes I do it reluctantly. I put a smile on my face but in my heart I have a long a stream of complaints about all I have yet to do, how tired I am, or what a rough day I have had and I have nothing left to give. Instead, I want to give cheerfully to Jesus, Others, and Yourself, (myself) truly from the depths of my heart. In my experience, I have found that I may kick and scream the whole way there, but once I give my offering the blessings are so abundant…can I get an “AMEN”? (Now I just need to work on the kicking and screaming part!)
CHALLENGE: I encourage you to pray and be open to God’s prompting. Make a commitment to tithe and allow God to bless you through your cheerful giving. If you already tithe, I encourage you to give cheerfully when you feel God’s prompting even if is from the little you have left (that may be giving to your children at the end of the day after you have had the roughest day ever or shifting gears when your spouse comes home and offering a gentle, loving welcome after you have had a miserable day.)
PRAYER: Precious Savior, I am so grateful for your faithfulness in providing for me and my family. Give me a discerning spirit to decide in my heart how much to give back to you. Open my heart to hear you speak so I may give when and where You need me to. And when I give, may I not do so reluctantly or in response to pressure. For You love a person who gives cheerfully. I believe you will generously provide for all my needs and plenty left over to share with others. Thank you Almighty Father. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.