It’s 4.34 am and Copper woke me up at 2 am, gnawing away at my hair (going after flees? Preening me? Grooming? Who knows? He obviously thinks he is serving me somehow, but I digress). Anyway, I am pondering the nature of giving to the Lord and thought I would pass on what (little) wisdom I’ve learned on giving in 50 years of (pathetic attempts at) life.
“The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor 9.6,7). Think about that for a minute. What you give to the Lord financially (or any other way for that matter, time, goods, effort), is up to you, but remember: if you sow sparingly, you will reap sparingly. Don’t complain that you always lack money, if you are a cheapskate giver because God has already promised that he will give to you as you give to him, he is merely doing what he promised he would do. On the other hand, if you sow bountifully, he promises that you will reap bountifully. Does that mean that you will become a millionaire? Probably not. God has an uncanny knack for blessing in ways that you only recognize in retrospect.
An example. We were talking to Kathryn Hixson yesterday about this and she said that when Mike and she were young marrieds they were making $14,000 a year. She said they didn’t even have a budget because this amount wouldn’t cover any conceivable budget. She said that, year after year, she would count up what they had spent and it would be around $20,000, then she would go back and look at what they made and it would be $14,000. There was no explanation where the $6000 came from, which is just like the Lord.
Conversely, if you are a cheapskate giver, it is uncanny how what you earn will never be enough. You will have unexpected financial requirements time after time after time. God also has an uncanny knack for this as well, you don’t even really notice where money is going, you just know there is never enough. (Of course it could also be possible that you are simply spending money unwisely, and blaming it on God). (Also, I don’t mean to imply that if you are a generous giver you will never be in financial difficulty, or you will never have unexpected costs, you will. Your mother and my philosophy is, when we have unexpected financial burdens to ask ourselves, “okay, are we giving what we should? If we are, then obviously God has brought that particular burden into our lives for other reasons, which is fine, he is God. He can do that).
My second lesson learned is this: I have no regrets at all about giving faithfully through the years to the Lord. If we were where you guys are and were starting over, we would do the exact same thing because our own experience is to say, “Yep. It’s absolutely true. God sticks to his promise on giving.” If you sow sparingly, don’t complain when you reap sparingly. If you sow bountifully, you WILL reap bountifully. The reaping might not come how you expect it. You might not even notice it for a long time, but you WILL reap bountifully.
In short: You will be wise to give to the Lord bountifully. You will regret being a cheapskate.