Giving As Spiritual Discipline
When I was in fourth or fifth grade, I would get my parents Living Bible translation with the green cover and read the Gospels. One day I came across the story about the poor lady who gave her measly two mites in the Temple and was highly praised by Jesus for giving sacrificially while he criticized the wealthier people whose donations were much more than the poor woman’s. This story had such an impression on me that the next Sunday I took the money that was in my wallet (maybe $24) and tried to give it all to the church. My parents explained to me that I only have to give a portion of my money to the church and not all of it.
The point of this story is as an idealistic and innocent child, I was willing to live out my faith in ways that showed true sacrifice, true trust, and radical actions. As I got older, money became something to hold on to and hoard rather than give away. It became easy to rationalize ways of getting around giving and being generous. No matter what my stage in life may be, it doesn’t change the point that Jesus is making. It doesn’t matter how much you give, what matters is the state of your heart when you give. And giving is an act of worship that truly allows us to worship in “spirit and in truth.” If my giving comes out of anything other than worship of God and a response to his generosity and blessings towards me than God doesn’t want my money.
Do you give out of guilt or obligation or do you give out of generosity, love and sacrifice? It makes a world of difference to God.