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Giving is from the heart

The passing of the offering plate is the most dreaded time of the church service. A prevalent sin in the church is that of covetousness, because it is tied to the belief that we are the owners of what we have and not just managers. Death proves this, because we leave all our earthly possessions behind. The dictionary defines wealth as many valuable possessions, much money or property. The Lord, speaking about our earthly wealth, states it is temporal, because it can rust, be stolen or destroyed.

The Old Testament speaks of two groups of offerings, blood and bloodless. The blood offering is when a life is taken in reference to paying for our sins. The bloodless offering, which is for dedication, is an agricultural gift from hard work and the sweat of our brow. This gift is from our love for God and the blood offering is from God’s love for us. Our sacrifice to God is not to receive something, but because we have already received it from Him.

The Bible says, “… so let him give not grudgingly or of necessity for God loveth a cheerful giver.” The disgruntled giver is the one who begrudges his giving to the Lord. He finds excuses to justify his disobedience. The necessity giver gives because he has an obligation to fulfill a need. He waits until the last minute, and if no one gives he feels he has to. The cheerful giver is the one who gives from an overflowing heart in appreciation for God’s gifts to him. He volunteers or looks for opportunities to express his gratitude. The Lord looks more at why we give rather than what we give.

We can worship money, or we can worship God with our money. All of us may not be able to sing, teach or play an instrument, but we can all give, which is the tangible expression of our heart. In II Corinthians 8, the word charis is translated three ways; gift, grace and thanks. Our offering shows our love, thanks and honor to God for Who He is to us.

The Lord is in the process of building saints, not a bank account. Many see God as having the same attitude of greed toward giving as they do. The Lord does not want our money, but desires the affections of our hearts. We can give money to the Lord without giving ourselves, but we cannot give ourselves to Him without giving our finances. Jesus said, for where our heart is so will be our treasures. What we value in life is where our attention, affection and money will be.

Our giving to God is not subtraction, but instead, multiplication. We should use the principle of sowing, not scattering. Scattering is when it is convenient and uses a hit or miss approach. Sowing is carefully planting in the right soil with the result being a harvest for future use. Our giving to God is not a contribution, but rather an investment. Stephen Olford said, “what we spend we lose; what we keep will be left to others; what we give away remains forever ours.”

STEVE CONWELL, pastor of Maranatha Baptist Church, is heard morning on WFLO and WVHL in “A Thought For Today.” His email address is SteveConwell@outlook.com.