I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t preach or teach much on the topic of giving. The reason I don’t is because I have heard so much foolishness from so many preachers on this topic that I’ve just shied away from it. I don’t want to be associated with people who appear to be marketing God’s blessings. They talk a lot about “seed faith,” but the soil they want to plant that seed in is often their own bank account. They call it their “ministry,” but too often their “ministry” is their own salary, house, clothes and cars.
It seems the concept of “personal sacrifice” is foreign to so many in our Western culture. In our materialistic world, the focus is on self, about getting all I can, canning all I get, sitting on the can, and selling the rest. Following the sacrifices of World War II, our nation has fostered generation after generation that has no idea what it means to sacrifice for someone else, or for a belief or ideal that is worthy of our very best. Why is the concept of sacrifice to foreign to so many? It is because a sacrifice cost something.
I tend to believe the best in people, and I want to believe we are all being faithful in tithes and doing our very best in offerings. And I know what it feels like to do my best, and then have someone come along and tell me, “That’s not good enough.” That discourages a person, and makes it hard keep doing our best when we are made to feel like our best is never good enough. However, if we are faithful, God knows, and He always blesses the faithful. As the old song said, “There’s gonna be a payday, someday for all who have been true.”
In 35 years of marriage, I’ve learned that there is a very real difference between cheerful giving and giving grudgingly. I cannot count the number of times my wife has asked me to do something—like take out the trash, walk the dogs, or pick up my socks—and the way I reacted was important to her. It isn’t just that I agree to do what she asks, but it is also “how” I agree to do it, that is important to her. There have been times when I was tired or in the middle of watching a football game and she’d ask me to do something. But if responded in a way was curt, lacking in charity or cheerfulness, she’d say, “You know what? Never mind, I’ll do it myself!” When I jumped up (out of guilt) and insisted that I’ll do it, she would say, “Forget it. If you don’t want to help, I’ll just do myself.”