Saturday, February 15, 2014
A Brief Exploration of The Art of Giving
You know the story. Actually there are two versions, one is found in Matthew 25: 13-30 and the other in Luke 19: 11-27. They are very similar but not identical. Here is the basic story. A rich noble needs to go on a journey. He gives some money to a number of servants to manage in his absence. The sum of money he gives to each is a measure of his confidence in their abilities. When the nobleman returns from his journey, he discovers that two more capable servants have doubled his money. They are praised and rewarded. He also discovers that one of his servants just hid his money out of fear. It is returned without gain. The owner is seriously upset with this lazy worthless servant, who is then severely punished. That is really all you need to know about giving. 1)Everything ultimately belongs to God. Christian or non-Christian, God has entrusted you with certain abilities and physical resources. 2) They are not yours. You are just a manager. 3) You have been given broad discretionary authority to use the Master’s resources in his absence. 4) You will be held accountable for how you used the Owner’s resources that were under your control. Now you need to answer a question, “Do I want to hear the Lord say, “Good and faithful servant.” Or do you want to be cast into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth? How do you become a golfer? You go out to a driving range hit a few buckets of balls. Maybe take a few classes from a local professional. Then you go out to the county course and start playing golf. If you do this most every weekend over the next few years, you are a golfer. If you keep practicing you will get better. Giving is more important than playing golf, but no different. Start giving today. Maybe spend a little time studying the relevant portions of Scripture that cover this topic, listen to a good sermon on the subject. I am sure your pastor would be glad to help your exploration of this topic. Then, of course, pray. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor. Giving is a measure of what is in your heart, not what is in your bank account. You are not only accountable for what you give. You are also accountable for where you give. Do you think God will be happy to learn you gave his money to some scam charity? You are responsible for doing due diligence for every penny you give to God’s work. Christians disagree on how much to give or where to give. I come down on the freedom and grace side of the argument. This is a discussion between you and your God. In my personal experience, the answer to the question, “How much?” has always been, “More,” but then I am a bit of a penny pincher. Ask God about this very important aspect of your personal financial plan.—Today. Listen to his answer. Although I believe that ideally our giving should be out of a heart of gratitude and love rather than for an expectation of return, I must note that so far I haven’t been able to out give God.