Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart;
then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work
and in everything you put your hand to.
- Deuteronomy 15:10
It is only practical to assume that anybody who grew up in the church has heard about that ten percent stuff, right? Giving ten percent of what you earn, yada yada.
My mother always set a great example for me as a child through faithfully giving back to the Lord. As a child, I vividly remember looking forward to placing money in the offering plate every Sunday. I had always found some sort of thrill in that. My concept of giving continued to flourish as a young child as my father instilled practices of philanthropy amongst my siblings and me. My siblings and I would typically spend our summer months and holiday vacations helping out at our local charity. Over the years, as God continued working in me, I discovered that He had gifted me with the ability of giving. Giving of my time, resources, or any talents that He had enabled me with.
When I went off to college, things started shifting a little. I had to provide for my own expenses (tuition, groceries, books, etc.) and it became easy to fall into the temptation of hoarding my money versus giving it back faithfully to the Lord. As a college freshman, I did not have much experience in managing my expenses, nor did I administer them wisely. I began finding myself slowly shirking away from tithing and I did so out of fear of my own financial insecurity. Everything I had practiced growing up was practically thrown out the window. I often would stow away what was meant to be my tithe to cover for other necessary expenses out of fear of not having “enough money.” For a while, tithing was completely off my radar.
After my first year of college, I transferred to a more financially affordable university where I was able to pay off school through scholarships. Although I had school mostly paid for, my resources were not as abundant financially compared to my first year of college, since I had other expenses that I did not in my first school. Funny enough, it was in my years that I was more restricted financially as a student that I gave more freely. Reflecting years later, I can testify of the blessings I missed out on out of my fear of giving.
Through this experience, I learned what it meant to trust in the Lord. I learned to slowly live out my faith in security and gratitude knowing that God would provide for all my needs and that He would abundantly bless me far more than what I would give back to Him. Trust me, it was extremely difficult as I like to have everything meticulously planned out. But it was during this time of growth I learned the beauty of giving with the right attitude and all the blessings that come along with it. God taught me what it meant to rely on His strength and not my own. He taught me that I must utilize my time and resources, and do so generously.
I have learned to view the concept of giving (through finances, time, and resources) as a way we can live out our faith in gratitude of God’s bestowed blessing in our lives. The blessings that result are often far more than what we can imagine. Be faithful in the little things and God will be faithful in the big things.
1. What has God blessed me with that I may use to bless others?
2. How may I practice giving back to the Lord?
Lord, allow me to become a faithful giver in all aspects of my life. Thank You for being my Provider. Teach me to rely on You. Instill in me the practice of living a missional lifestyle where I give of my time, resources, and talents back to You. Amen.