Wednesday, January 4, 2012

This Scripture changed one area of my life

I Chronicles 29: 10-13; 16-18 is my dream passage. Dream passage because I dream of a day when my children, my friends, members of the body of Christ will always experience joy and freedom that comes with giving. 

Did you know that giving is a burden for some people? It doesn't have to be this way. 

The first job I ever had was working at the post office in downtown Kingston, Jamaica, sorting dusty mail bags during the summer of 1976. I was excited to be working and making MY own money, I couldn't wait each day to get back to the dusty, grimy work. 

Pay day finally came and I took my check home because I did not have a bank account. My mother punctured my reverie with a disturbing question: "How much are you giving to God?"

She could tell from the puzzled look on my face that her question did not register in my narrow teen brain. So she came back again with a slight variation, "How much are you going to give as an offering to the Lord's work?"

And I will never forget her next words" "You should give ten percent to the Lord's work; save twenty percent, and the rest you use to pay your bills or use as spending money."

Then she opened up the word of God and shared the prayer of David from I Chronicles 29 with me. I don't know how to explain it, but light bulbs of wisdom and understanding flooded my life. The light from this text illuminates my life to this day. 

David said, "Riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. 
I Chronicles 29: 12

So all those days and weeks I toiled away at the downtown post office, it was God giving me strength to work; and all along, I thought it was MY job, and MY money.

And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name…for all things come from you, and of your own have we given you. O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a house for your holy name comes from your hand and is all your own. I Chronicles 29: 13, 14, 16 

Wow! Since the day I was born, until the day I die, I will forever be indebted to God. I can never and will never be able to out-give God. 

From my teen years until now, giving money is not a burden, but a source of joy, because in reality, I don’t own anything.

This Christmas, I gave some money to my children and they turned around and used some of the money to buy me a gift. I was so blessed to receive from them and they were so excited to give back to me. They didn't have to do it, and I did not require them to give. But they did and we all rejoiced.

I know some will read this and quickly demur, “Oh, but you can give in so many other ways.” True, but money is a real spiritual test (See I Chronicles 29: 17). Talk to me about giving in other ways after you explain to me your ministry of giving money to God’s work!

Question: What informs or motivates you to give your money to the church?