...for God loves a cheerful giver
– 2nd Corinthians 9:7
I love giving money away. I really do! I love writing a big fat check for a mission effort or supporting a church effort that needs just a little more. I love it. I go home, feeling good about myself and, more importantly, feeling closer to God.
I have never done it for acknowledgment or thanks. I don’t blow whistles or ring bells to draw attention to what I am doing. I just honestly deep down enjoy giving, and when I have the money, I rarely hesitate.
This is the upside to my struggle with handling my finances in a Godly way. I have cheerful giving to my credit.
But, I admit it’s gotten a lot harder over the past 4 years. Once we found out we were pregnant, all the bills started running through my head. We’d need a crib, and a rocking chair, and a dresser, and a breast pump, and, and, and… I suddenly started to get very scared and to think I was being super wise to hold onto every penny I could. To some extent, there is wisdom in that. But it was sucking the joy out of my giving.
I still dutifully wrote our check for contribution each Sunday, but now it was handed over with joy and worry all mixed up into one. I’m well aware that God has always provided for us. I tried to focus on verses like:
“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?
And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:25, 26, 28-33 NASB)
Intellectually, I know God provides, but it’s hard not to wonder if I have bitten off more than I can (or should) chew. Even though God provides, you don’t go off and buy a yacht when you make minimum wage, thinking God will just step up and cover that. I believe you have to be smart, and if you are smart, then God has your back.
And now that we have a second little one, I look at that check that I’m dropping in the collection plate – and I think “I could pay off my student loan debts in less than three years if I just stopped giving to The Lord”. Can’t you just see the little red devil on my shoulder telling me that?
Satan wants nothing more this to trip us up wherever he can and this is exactly why there are so many verses on the dangers of borrowing money. Because now you are indebted to someone else besides God and they have become your master. You have lost focus.
I’m using this blog to help me be accountable for our financial decisions and even to seek wise counsel if anyone has it to offer. But a big part of this accountability is remembering that I serve a wonderful master already – and I don’t want anything else standing in the way of that relationship.