What about the Lord?

Read:  Deuteronomy 15:1-10;  2 Corinthians 9:6-8

In a recent article in Bloomberg Business Week the author was writing about the saving and spending habits of Americans.  One of the comments made went somewhat like this, “When it comes to our money we have two choices, we can save it or we can spend it.”  It caused me to stop mid-sentence and think, “What about a third way, giving?”

We all know the well known saying, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”   While this may sometimes be hard for adults to practice it always holds true.  We feel better, we have more joy, and we are a part of bringing forth God’s kingdom on this earth when we give of our time, money, and talents as the Bible encourages us to do.

Here is another story I recently read…. “When I was 16 years old, my father gave me a job of picking up trash and cleaning restrooms at the place that he was working.  I was paid $3 a day and allowed to drive my father’s very old beat up truck around.  I can remember my first paycheck.  My parents and I were around the dining room table, and I was discussing how I was going to spend my money.

After I finished listing all of the things I wanted to buy my dad said, “What about the Lord?”  I sat down re-figured my budget, and it was at that time that I first laid aside 10% of my income for the Lord.  To the best of my knowledge I have given 10% or more of every dollar I have ever earned to the Lord.  The Lord has blessed me a hundred times over and is still blessing me and my family for this.”

As I read this man’s story I too remembered having a similar conversation with my parents after I got my first job as a paperboy.  I am thankful that they taught and demonstrated the importance of giving the first-fruits of our labors to the Lord and then thinking about how we will save and spend the rest of what the Lord has blessed us with.  We need to continue to pass this concept on to our own children and grandchildren.

The places to give and support the Lord’s work around the world are almost endless.  churches and religious organizations continue to do wonderful work around the world to bring love, care, and support to those in need in the name of Christ.  Christian aid organizations are often the first ones on the scene when a disaster occurs and children around the world are being fed, housed, and educated by numerous other Christian ministries.

Throughout the Bible we are encouraged to give selflessly so that money will not become a god to us and control our lives.  Yes, it is important to save for your family and future needs, and yes, we must spend some of what we make.  But each time we sit down to pay the bills or decide what our next purchase is going to be it might be good for us to ask the question the father asked in the story above.  What about the Lord?

The Bible mentions giving 10% several times in the Old Testament but I would encourage you to be open to what the Lord leads you to give.  I once heard of a couple who decided to live on 10% and give away 90%.  While that seems very radical it also seems very freeing.  Imagine being able to do that and how blessed you would feel.

In 2 Corinthians 9 it says, “Those who sow bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as they have purposed in their heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”  May we be cheerful as we give and sow seed into God’s kingdom here on earth.  Together, with God’s help, we can make a difference!

Make it personal:  One piece of advice I have always appreciated is the suggestion of giving to the Lord before paying the bills or deciding what to buy.  If we have a set amount or percent each time then we know that this is for the Lord’s work and it comes out first.  In some sense it is like an automatic withdrawal, except this one is for God.

Have a joy-filled and generous week,  Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church