I recently came across this riddle titled It’s Strange. I won’t repeat the entire riddle but suffice it to say, it is both challenging and thought provoking. Here’s a portion of it:
It’s strange how $20 doesn’t seem like a lot of money when I go out to dinner, but it seems like a lot when I give to my church.
It’s strange how 2 hours doesn’t seem like a long time when I’m watching a good movie, but it seems like a long time when I’m at church.
It’s strange how I want a front row seat at a concert, but choose the last row at church.
It’s strange how I have no problem remembering and repeating gossip, but how difficult it is to learn about God and to share that with others.
It’s strange that I have no problem finding ways to use my talents at work to advance my career, but can’t seem to find a way to use my talents to serve at church.
The riddle continues, but you get the point. Why is it that when it comes to church, it’s challenging to give freely of my time or my talents or my financial resources, but yet I give of them so freely to other things?
That said, in II Corinthians 9 we are told that God does not want us to give under compulsion. In other words, He doesn’t want us to give under pressure or as the result of arm-twisting.
He does not want giving to church to be viewed as a legalistic duty, but He wants us to give cheerfully from the heart - as an expression of our love for Him and relationship with Him. He wants our giving to be something we enjoy doing and He wants us to do so freely and gladly - again, reflecting our love for Him.
As Director of Stewardship, it is not my job to pressure anyone to give to the church. That would not be pleasing to the Lord. However, part of my role is to remind us of the responsibilities we have before the Lord, in response to His love for us and our
responsibility to be good stewards of all that He has entrusted to us - to be used for His purposes.
How we respond is up to each one, however, Proverbs 3: 9 tells us we are to honor God with all of our possessions and the first fruits of all of our increase. First fruits is a Biblical reference to the first portion of our income, often referred to at the tithe.
Throughout Scripture it is clear that God expects us to give to and support His work (the church). Yet, Hosea 6: 6 tells us that God wants our love more than our sacrifice or offerings. But, if we love God, giving to His work is a natural outflow of that love. In fact, giving is described as an act of worship, and worship is defined as anything we do as an expression of our love and adoration for God.
So, how do you feel when you give of your time, your talent or your treasure to the Lord’s work? Do you give reluctantly or grudgingly, or are you joyful and cheerful? Do you get excited about how God is going to use your gift to further His work and help to spread His Gospel message?
There’s another line to the riddle that I left out. It says:
It’s strange that we so easily believe things we read in social media but yet we question what we read in the Bible.
Do you believe what Scripture tells us? Have you reflected on His provision for your life? I Chronicles 29:14 tells us that everything we have comes from the Lord, and Deuteronomy 8:18 reminds us that it is God who gives us the ability to produce wealth. And in Malachi 3:10 God encourages us to test Him - to bring our offerings to the church and see if He will not pour out His blessings.
So, are we being good stewards of what the Lord has entrusted to us? It's a question we all need to ask ourselves. Am I being obedient to the Lord - not in a legalistic way, but in response to a loving relationship with Him?