Posted by: pastortomvabeach | December 10, 2013

Thought For The Week December 15, 2013

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, at least most everywhere you go. At my house we have not had time to even decorate the Christmas tree. How do we get so busy this time of year? I hope you are finding time to relax somewhere during the holiday period.

Last week, I began to share some of Jeff Anderson’s thoughts on giving, found in his little book, Plastic Donuts. One of his foundational ideas is that Scripture tells us that our gifts can delight the heart of the Father and these are acceptable gifts. He then shares four truths that “bring clarity and provide reliable answers to the most common questions about giving…and open our eyes to ways our gifts can bring delight to God.”

The first truth he shares is that the amount of our giving to God matters. King David knew that a gift that cost him nothing would not be worth anything to God. Do you remember the story in II Samuel 24? David wanted to build an altar to stop the plague he had caused. A suitable place was found and the owner offered to give it to David. But David said, No, I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God with that which costs me nothing. (II Samuel 24:24). David understood that if the gift amount doesn’t matter to us, it doesn’t matter to God.

Now this may cause some dispute or disagreement but think about it. The things in life that matter to us like the mortgage, car payment, cell phone bill, vacation, etc., are so important that we set aside the funds to ensure they happen. Do our gifts to God fit in this category? I mean are we careful to set aside what we give and to limit committing our income to things that may prevent our giving? We do that with things that matter.

Another way to look at this is that the amount matters to the heart. If a young man wanting to marry gave his bride-to-be a cheap imitation engagement ring because he had tied up most of his income with his personal entertainment and sports pursuits and then said, “What I paid for the ring doesn’t matter. It’s the heart that counts,” how might that go over? Some of you guys are saying, what’s the big deal, but the ladies understand what I’m saying. To say what I give to God doesn’t matter if my heart’s right may come from good intentions but the message is wrong.

In truth the amount is what connects the heart. Jesus taught this connection; where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:21). Anderson rightly says, “Wherever you invest your money, a force pulls your heart along with it. You have no choice in the matter, just like the force of gravity pulls an object toward the center of the earth. So if you spend an amount that matters very little to you, it will move your heart very little…the amount gets the attention of your heart.”

Many Christians begin to tithe in their early years and continue the practice throughout their lives because they believe God “requires” 10 percent. Those same individuals, as their earning potential grows, find that the 90 percent is a great deal more than enough to fund a lifestyle in which they can do or buy just about anything they want. What they don’t realize is that the tithe is not an amount that influences their choices in life – it really doesn’t matter to them. In fact, in many instances their lifestyle choices begin to limit their giving so the tithe is the most they can usually give.

Anderson says, “The issue is not about needing to sacrifice our lifestyles but about giving a gift that is really connected to our hearts. Because we have a tendency to attach ourselves to our possessions, perhaps our giving needs to impact our lifestyles in order to get our heart’s attention…when the heart engages through a gift that matters it becomes more than just writing a check.” That kind of gift will matter to God.

Does your giving ever make a difference in your lifestyle? When was the last time you gave something to God that moved your heart? Why did that happen? Think about it!

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