Focus: 2 Cor 8:16-24
When I read today"s New Testament passage in 2 Cor, I had to chuckle because the first thing that came to my mind was, "Wow, even Paul had to write about giving". Go figure! There is truly nothing new under the sun! Smile! Some people feel that this is all preachers talk about. In fact it is my absolute least favorite topic. To me, even today, it feels like formal begging! So Mary and I have learned to plan our ministry around what we give. Like Paul, we care for our own living expenses. I would rate myself a 10 out of 10 for giving and a 0 out of 10 for receiving! Since I was a child, I have always considered it joy to give to others. We have given away alot of money to those we found in need in 40 years, but we have given more of our time away than that, by a large multiple! I always felt fortunate and believed that God would replace whatever I gave. It took decades, but I learned that there is a fine line between giving from the heart and giving to receive. God blesses the former, but cannot bless the latter unless He wants to support sinful giving! Yes I said sinful giving - when we give to others mostly to get back something for ourselves, in other words, giving to get! Paul says that the Lord loves a cheerful giver, but giving to get is Not about giving, it is about receiving, pride, entitlement, and selfishness. Giving to get creates an entitlement mentality, yes even from God, that is unhealthy. It teaches reckless, not faithful, giving! How can you tell? If you give a lot and then complain that God is not providing your needs, you are giving to get! To feel or say that God is not meeting our needs, says that we know better than God what we need. God is a parent! Often what God knows is that He needs to teach us humility, fiscal responsibility, and god- breathed money management more than giving into our sinful desires! We should also never give under pressure. It too, is not giving correctly. It creates a begrudging heart and a foothold for Satan! You see when we give that way, the first financial challenge that comes after that type of giving, creates animosity toward the person who we feel pressured us, rather than our own personal responsibility to give by the Spirit! Satan territory because we are being deceived! Give because the Spirit moves you or because you love God! Tithing is a commandment, but God does not need our money. Tithing is about blessing us and others based on the principle of Love. When we give this way, we NEVER have regrets, regardless our current financial condition! When we view giving from this perspective, buy will your mood and life change! Remember that tithing is about God's House and His house has many parts, so spread your tithing around to many parts of His House, not just to one part! Praise Him!