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In 2 Corinthians 9:7 Paul says we should give what we decide in our hearts to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, because God loves a cheerful giver. This verse is often applied to financial giving, but I believe it applies to any resource we give away - our time, or energy, or skills. I recognized that during a season of over-extension, most of my "gives" had been reluctant or under compulsion. I felt I had to help, had to serve, or had to solve the problem. But when we attempt to give what we do not have, we cross a boundary. We trespass into joylessness.

God loves a cheerful giver, but that does not mean we should give what we do not possess to gain his approval or anyone else's. It does mean, when the balance on our account is in the black, and we write the check, or make the phone call, or lead the team, God gets a kick out of it. We need to minister "in the black" so we have something to give. Giving "in the red," giving what we do not possess, means we are living in duplicity. We are not loving God or others authentically because we're not being honest.

When an opportunity to give (time, money, service, etc.) arises, practicing simplicity means starting with self-examination. "Do I have it in my heart to give?" If that answer is "no," then it is not a clean give. Something else, something duplicitous, is behind the motivation to say "yes." Most often fear is the culprit - the fear of not appea

God loves a cheerful giver, but that does not mean we should give what we do not possess to gain his approval or anyone else's. It does mean, when the balance on our account is in the black, and we write the check, or make the phone call, or lead the team, God gets a kick out of it. We need to minister "in the black" so we have something to give. Giving "in the red," giving what we do not possess, means we are living in duplicity. We are not loving God or others authentically because we're not being honest.

When an opportunity to give (time, money, service, etc.) arises, practicing simplicity means starting with self-examination. "Do I have it in my heart to give?" If that answer is "no," then it is not a clean give. Something else, something duplicitous, is behind the motivation to say "yes." Most often fear is the culprit - the fear of not appearing in control, the fear of not pleasing someone, or the fear of not being accepted. Sometimes our Christian guilt can interfere. For example, at times we know we should say "yes" (such as, do I have it in my heart to care for the poor today?), but our strong answer is "no." In such cases I've determined to honestly face my "no" and then let God do a new thing in me rather than function in duplicity.

November 03, 2008 at 11:53 AM

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