What does giving mean to you? Do you give because you feel it's the right thing to do? Do you give because you feel obligated? Do you give? Sure you do. You give your time and money all the time. You give your time to your children, your spouse, your job, your child's school or sports team or your church. You give your money to mortgages, bills, restaurants, stores, gas stations or your kids. You give. We give. But are we really giving of our money? I'm not sure we are. A wise man once said, "show me your check book, and I'll show you what's important in your life." Boy does that speak to me. While a lot of people don't use check books anymore, you get the point. Where does your money go? Bills, I get it. But after that? I've been guilty in indulging in fast food restaurants, hair appointments and scrap booking stores. When you look at your check book, who or where are the most checks written to?
Our family believes that God commands us to give. To give ten percent, to be exact. I recall growing up and my father telling me that that could mean ten percent of your time and not necessarily money. Neither me nor Brandon knew anything about giving monetarily. When we first started attending church together, we would see the bucket go around and might put in a couple of dollars. I recall the day we put in a $20 bill. WHOA, were we big stuff...lol! We didn't understand the concept of giving ten percent of our incomes. Okay, Brandon's income. I was a student. As we grew spiritually, we learned that our money is not just ours, it was God's first. All He asked for was 10%. It was gradual for us. We built up to a ten percent monetary giving. Is that the right way to do it? For us, it's how we did it and it was a faith thing. We knew that this was the only area that God said to test Him in and we tested Him. And He blew us away! There were refund checks that came in the mail, check book balances that never made sense, and the ultimate gift of wisdom to manage our finances. It wasn't always easy. There were months that I sold treasured items on eBay to give. I don't write this to boast, only to show that it can be done...if it's what's important to you.
Now the whole giving to a church thing is what holds a lot of people up. It did to us at first. And while God's word says to bring your ten percent to the church, He also says that the body of believers are His church. There have been times in our marriage when we didn't belong to a church building, in our transient lives. Or we felt an overwhelming desire to give to God through someone in need, or to a cause we felt that did God's work. Is this right? Ultimately, it's between us and God. While we believe that our local church does God's work, we also believe that God is everywhere and can use us anywhere! Our church is a building that we go to to worship and serve our God.....BUT, it is not our God. God is much bigger than that building. We choose to give to our church. The building serves our community, brings people to Christ, and gives to those in need. But we also allow God to use us wherever He needs us. Not that He needs our money...lol. We are open, or are trying to be open, to giving more to God and His people everywhere.
Man, if we all gave....gave generously, like it was our mortgage, our car payment, our grocery bill, our kids sports team. Imagine the impact that would make! God doesn't need your money, but He uses it to bless people. To give them hope, to care for an orphan, to feed people, to clothe people, to build water wells for clean drinking water, to house the homeless. Jesus said, when you do these things for other people, you do them for Him. I want to be at those gates one day, and be able to say that I fed Jesus, I clothed Jesus, I gave shelter to Jesus, I gave Him a drink....that I loved Him!
Our family is not perfect. We do believe in striving for perfection, but know that we fall short in many areas. We do remain faithful in giving, while it may only be ten percent, we are faithful. Not because we feel obligated, but because it brings us joy. We long for the day to give more. What a journey giving is.
For me, my passion is orphans. I feel called to them, to love them, to feed them, to clothe them, to give them clean drinking water...to mother them. If we all adopted an orphan, there would be no more orphans! If we all gave money (like you give to Walmart, Kohl's, Lowe's, you fill the blank) to a family adopting an orphan, money wouldn't be an issue. If we all contributed to orphanages, orphans wouldn't go hungry or thirsty. If we all would just give! Be generous, do something you never would have done! Empty your savings account, sell your car, take on an extra job, have faith! GIVE! We are a testimony. The savings account will build back up and then some, you'll get another car, someone will feel called by God to BLESS YOU! JUST GIVE!
So what is your passion? What cause, issue, or need would you contribute to if you had the money or time? What has God laid on your heart? Have faith, go crazy and GIVE!