Have you ever been tempted to give something that was not your best? Some times we are tempted to keep the good stuff for our self, and then give what we don’t want. I love the commercial where the two brothers have to share the peanut butter sandwich. One little boy does not want to share, so the mom allows him to cut the sandwich. The little boy does not cut the sandwich evenly because he was going to keep the larger half for himself, and give the smaller one to his brother. Technically, he would be sharing, but he would come out with the better half. However, after the sandwich is cut the mom gives the larger piece to his brother. We are like that in so many ways when it comes to giving to God. We don’t want to be totally disobedient, but we are not giving our all either. What in the world tempts us to operate in this manner? It is simply our flesh. We want to make sure number one (meaning our self) is taken care of first, and then we will filter the rest down out of excess. However, this was not how Jesus instructed us to give.
Deuteronomy 16:17 Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God that he has given you.
The story of the widow who came to the temple is a great example to us. Although, she gave only two coins, this was literally all she had. When is the last time you truly gave from deep within? A time when your giving might cost you a trip, a new couch, or some other material thing you desired. Please don’t misunderstand, I am not only talking about money; God asks us to give of our time and talents as well. It is easy to give when it does not interfere with any of our plans, but when God calls us to give more than we think is feasible, we begin to hang on to it as if it were ours. Many people find it challenging to serve in the local church today because they are simply too busy to give of their time. I wonder "what if" God were simply to busy to bind up the brokenhearted, to save the lost, to restore a marriage, to bring healing to a weary body, to give us words of wisdom, to forgive us of wrong deeds, or to simply hear us when we call. Fortunately for us, God is never too busy.
In the Message Bible it states this "All the others gave what they'll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn't afford—she gave her all." Mark 12:43-44 MSG
Would God say we were extravagant givers today, or would we be considered stingy? What if the love we had for Christ was measured in what we gave? Would God know we loved Him with all our heart, soul, and mind, or would we simply fall short of showing our love for Him? God gives us common sense to handle our finances properly, but He also calls us to trust in Him with our obedience. When I read the story below, I thought it was a great example of how Christian giving should look.
Two Brothers – Author unknown
Once there were two brothers who inherited their father’s land. The brothers divided the land in half and each one farmed his own section. Over time, the older brother married and had six children, while the younger brother never married.
One night, the younger brother lay awake. “It’s not fair that each of us has half the land to farm,” he thought. “My brother has six children to feed and I have none. He should have more grain than I do.”
So that night the younger brother went to his silo, gathered a large bundle of wheat, and climbed the hill that separated the two farms and over to his brother’s farm. Leaving the wheat in his brother’s silo, the younger brother returned home, feeling pleased with himself.
Earlier that very same night, the older brother was also lying awake. “It’s not fair that each of us has half the land to farm,” he thought. “In my old age my wife and I will have our grown children to take care of us, not to mention grandchildren, while my brother will probably have none. He should at least sell more grain from the fields now so he can provide for himself with dignity in his old age.”
So that night, too, he secretly gathered a large bundle of wheat, climbed the hill, left it in his brother’s silo, and returned home, feeling pleased with himself.
The next morning, the younger brother was surprised to see the amount of grain in his barn unchanged. “I must not have taken as much wheat as I thought,” he said, bemused. “Tonight I’ll be sure to take more.”
That very same moment, his older brother was also standing in his barn, musing much the same thoughts.
After night fell, each brother gathered a greater amount of wheat from his barn and in the dark, secretly delivered it to his brother’s barn. The next morning, the brothers were again puzzled and perplexed. “How can I be mistaken?” each one scratched his head. “There’s the same amount of grain here as there was before I cleared the pile for my brother. This is impossible! Tonight I’ll make no mistake – I’ll take the pile down to the very floor. That way I’ll be sure the grain gets delivered to my brother.”
The third night, more determined than ever, each brother gathered a large pile of wheat from his barn, loaded it onto a cart, and slowly pulled his haul through the fields and up the hill to his brother’s barn. At the top of the hill, under the shadow of a moon, each brother noticed a figure in the distance. Who could it be?
When the two brothers recognized the form of the other brother and the load he was pulling behind, they realized what had happened. Without a word, they dropped the ropes to their carts and embraced.
If we could only find it within in our self to give the way God intended, what an abundance of blessings we would find. John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.