The winter had been especially difficult in the mountains of North Carolina. Heavy snowfall and cold temperatures had allowed the snow to accumulate to several feet at the higher elevations. The people who lived in the small mountain village located in a valley became concerned about an older couple who lived in an isolated cabin up on the mountainside. No one had seen either the husband or the wife for several weeks. Realizing that they were snowed in, the villagers would watch for smoke coming from the cabin chimney. One day when smoke was no longer apparent, the people of the village decided to call in the Red Cross. A helicopter flew over the cabin but no sign of life could be seen. Two Red Cross workers equipped with medical supplies and food parachuted into a clearing some distance from the cabin. The two young men made their way through the deep show, clearing a path to the door of the cabin. One of them knocked. Momentarily an old man appeared at the door. The young rescuer replied, “We are from the Red Cross.” The old man looked at him and said, “Well, you know it has been a right hard winter up here and I just don’t hardly see how we can give anything this year.”
How many times when the offering plate is passed at church or when our churches are looking for volunteers or for people to do missions or ministries we quietly say within ourselves, “Lord you know it’s been hard this year and I just don’t hardly see how we can give anything this year.” Or perhaps we give, but grudgingly, wondering how we are going to be able to pay that bill after dropping our tenth into the plate. Some might give out of the idea of “this is what I ought to do” rather than “this is my joy to do.”
Giving is an act of worship. It’s a way to say thank you to God for all that He has given and provided to us. God knows our hearts and what motivates us to give or not give. What if when the plate was passed each week, there was a scanner that measured our willingness to give? In Exodus 25:2, God told Moses to only accept the offerings that were given willingly. Would our churches still be able to operate if they only accepted the offerings that were given willingly? Would our pastors and other church staff be able to be paid? Would the lights be on? Would the programs and ministries still operate? God doesn’t need our money – He owns the entire universe. He was us to give our hearts and out of our love for Him we give Him back a tithe. 2 Corinthians 9:7 says, “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
What motivates you to give and what is the attitude of your heart when you do?
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