It is the heart that does the giving; the fingers only let go. – Nigeria proverb
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21 NIV
All giving is from the heart. Giving is first an inner choice before being an outward action.
We must ask ourselves several questions as we give. It will help strengthen our hearts toward generosity and away from selfishness.
- What am I giving? Finances, time, gifts?
- Why am I giving? Conscience, habit, guilt, love?
- What does God think of my giving?
As Christians we realize that what we have is a blessing. Being good stewards of the things we’ve been given should be a priority.
A friend of mine had stopped giving to her local church because the congregation seemed to be on a theological course she did not appreciate. She had been giving money and time to the church but had stopped both. She continued to attend church because she had been a member there for over fifteen years. Even though she entertained thoughts of leaving the church, she didn’t. She still loved the people there.
God pricked her conscience and asked her why she wasn’t giving anymore to the church. One reason was to “punish” the church for doing what she believed to be wrong.
God asked her if “punishing” the church was an acceptable form of protest. She struggled with the question because it seemed like a conventional way to get her point across.
However, was that really the case? She finally concluded that her “punishing” the church was really her attempt to “control” the church. But this is God’s church and that action was unacceptable.
If things were wrong, she needed to make her case. She needed to show she was invested in the church community. Withholding her giving was not doing either of these actions.
As a result, she went back to teaching bible study and giving financially. Within weeks, a ministry opportunity came up that was near and dear to her heart and the church took it on. Now her tithe and offerings support not only the church but also this new ministry.
We must get our hearts right with God before we start trying to use our giving as a vehicle of protest against the Church. In some cases, it may be appropriate. In some cases, it may not.
However, we must all seek God’s guidance so that our generosity is never stunted for our own personal agenda. Keeping in mind all those that we, as a Church in connection, can help by our generosity begs us to give and give generously.
Dear God reveal to us our innermost feelings and thoughts. Show us how to give joyously and generously to your ministries here on earth. Let us put away our foolish intentions and look for your guidance. Amen.