I've been thinking a lot lately on the topic of giving, and it seems to me that how I often give is not very godly.
There are many reasons to give, but usually how it goes for me is something like this:
- I go through my belongings to thin out what I have, and I find something that I think somebody I know could really use.
- I set it aside for them and think about how much they'll use it and how much they'll just love me for giving it to them.
- I actually give it to them, and say something like, "Hey, I was looking through my stuff the other day, and I found this. I don't really like it, but I thought it would be perfect for you!" There's a couple variations of that, but I'm sure you get the point. First off, I think it's good to thin out your stuff, considering we're not even supposed to store up our belongings on earth (Luke 12:33-34). It's also good to share our belongings with those who need them, like in the early Church described in Acts.
But my next step is not nearly as commendable. An immediate pride sets in, with grand thoughts of how much somebody will like me because of what I give them. Evil Ben! You're seeking man's approval! (Colossians 3:22-24).
The third step is really the meat of what I want to talk about. When I say that I don't like what I am giving them (which is why it would be perfect for them), I am essentially saying, "you are deserving of the least I can offer." But God clearly calls us to give of ourselves completely. Give the best you have! For goodness sakes, Christ laid His life down for us, and yet I can only give to others the things that I don't want?
Would I ever give somebody my favorite toy? How about my bed? How about my house? How about my life?
The grace of Jesus Christ that enables us to glorify God should extend to every tip of our lives, just as the blood from my heart goes even to the end of my pinkie toe.
When I give, let me give in a God-glorifying way, so that others know that this life is not important to me, and neither are the things I own. Let Christ receive the love from them, not I.