If you weren’t new to Awakening this past Sunday, you might have been slightly surprised to see Steve Clifford, WestGate’s head pastor, speaking from the front instead of Awakening’s pastor, Ryan. Steve generously devoted his evening to visit Awakening and spoke on the topic of money and what it means to be a joyful giver.
We recognize how touchy the subject of money can be in American society, especially when asking people to give it away. This is interesting, because if Steve’s submission that “we [Americans] are all rich” is true, why do you think any of us might have a hesitation to give to those who have not?
I can just imagine myself attempting to explain my response to a group of people in Ethiopia who probably know nothing about it’s like to have an abundance of clean water, let alone any sort of monetary wealth.
In Mark 12:41-44, the Bible illustrates a poor woman who offers two small coins as her tithe into the temple treasury- the smallest offering allowed at the temple. It was nothing compared to what the rich people in the crowd offered, and yet Jesus is overjoyed with the woman, and displeased by the others. It turns out, giving sacrificially isn’t about dollar amount, or emptying your bank account. Jesus is challenging the people around him to act in such a way that changes the heart from selfishness to love that is unconditional.
This makes me wonder, was Jesus ever displeased by my giving that was hardly a sacrifice to my daily living? Does the God of the universe — the “I am”– really need my $10, $20, $50 a week?
Personally, I truly believe that to give, whether it be time, talent, or treasure, because we know we can depend on our Father as Jehovah Jireh (Provider), we are acting in true “joyful giver” form.
“But just as you excel in everything- in faith, in speech, in knowledge…see that you also excel in this grace of giving. I am not commanding you, but I want to test the SINCERITY of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others”
2 Corinthians 8:7-8 (emphasis added)
God also speaks to you poor college students too:
“…Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to he does not have”
2 Corinthians 11-12
Regardless of dollar amount, giving is a pre-determined act of worship, and when we worship in complete thankfulness, we adopt a spirit of generosity and joy.
“Teach me your way, O Lord”
Author: Kate Anderson