Don't Let The Season of Giving Pass You By
I hate paying bills. I am pretty sure that there's not a single person reading this, who would disagree with me.
If, however, you get a great deal of joy out of writing checks, or sending payments out of your checking and/or savings account every month, I apologize for my generalization. And I would respectfully suggest you get some help, because you may have a disorder of some kind.
There were times in our marriage when Merideth and I would sit down to "do the money" (that's what we call it), and there would be a whole lot of month left at the end of our money. Sometimes, there would be more than we could handle.
So, in the middle of the stress of worrying about having enough--we often neglected giving to our church, or to charities that we believed in, simply because we felt like we didn't have it to give.
Years ago, however, we decided to take a different approach. We re-oriented our life together around a simple principle. Everything we have, we have because of God's goodness. In fact, we started to view the money in our checking/savings accounts not as our money, but as God's money.
It completely transformed the way we came to view generosity. Instead of evaluating our giving with a sense of lack, we began evaluating it with a sense of abundance. Our giving to our church became something we did first, then we paid our bills, and then we lived off the rest.
The great Lebanese poet Kahlil Gibran wrote about giving in his masterpiece The Prophet. "All you have shall some day be given;" he wrote. "Therefore give now, that the season of giving may be yours and not your inheritors."
When Jesus was told to weigh in on a dispute between brothers over an inheritance left to them by their father, he told them a parable instead.
He shared with them the story of a farmer who found himself with bumper crop of grain, but instead of being generous with his wealth, he decided to hoard it, hold on to it, and wait until the opportune moment to exploit others to make himself even more wealthy.
In the story, the man dies suddenly, and God says to him, "You fool! Tonight you die, and then who will get your barnful of goods?" Then Jesus added, "That's what happens when you fill your barn with Self and not with God."
Don't let the "season of giving" pass you by. You have an opportunity to experience eternity right here and now by re-orienting your view of money and things, to see them with a God-shaped lens. May you discover new levels of generosity and joy in giving today and every day.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.