Monday, January 28, 2013

Giving That Hurts by Martin Wiles

Series: Living With a Clear Conscience

Finances going south and a pressing question: should I keep giving to God, cut back, or cut it out entirely.

I was always taught you couldn’t outgive God, but what about when giving means an unpaid bill, a missed meal, an empty gas tank, or insufficient funds for the children’s lunches? Can I hold back then?

These were situations I dealt with when employment was lost and two incomes suddenly contracted into one. And the one was less than half of the previous. Something or someone was going to miss out if I gave…or gave as much as I knew I should. Doubt and anxiety reigned, and I chose to skimp on God. Not completely but enough for him to demonstrate what lack of trust can do…dry up what little I kept back.

Cheating God out of what belongs to him clouds the conscience. Paul taught liberal giving and said, He is the God I serve with a clear conscience (II Timothy 1:3 NLT). Malachi challenged God’s people to do the same. “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies…, I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! (Malachi 3:10 NLT)

Giving liberally, regularly, and joyfully of my time, money and talents recognizes God’s ownership of everything I have. He’s made it possible for me to collect every possession I own in trust. Giving with these attitudes recognizes his authority over every area of my life. Rebellion against authority is common, but rebelling against God’s authority is foolish. Through my giving-in whatever form it takes, I submit to Christ’s lordship and enjoy his blessings. If life’s curves have caused you to give up on giving to God, recommit to returning a portion to him and watch him open the floodgates of heaven.

Prayer: Eternal God, we acknowledge that everything we have comes from You. Equip us with the faith to trust You with everything we have and to give to You and others accordingly.