I grew up with a dog that loved rawhide bones. She would chew on them for hours. But if I (or anyone else) happened to come close to her while she was chewing, she would assert herself with a growl to let me know I better get away. A couple times she even snapped at me when I tried to take her bone away. I was always floored (and appalled) by her behavior because I was the one who gave her the bone in the first place. And she had the audacity to growl at me when I wanted it back?
Obviously, if I was trying to take away her bone, it was for her own good either because it was almost dinner time or she had chewed too much of it already and I didn’t want her to get sick. But she, being a dog, didn’t know that and was threatened by the fact that I wanted to “steal” her bone.
Then one day I realized that many Christians do the same exact thing to God with their money. God gives us the ability to make money. He provides gifts, abilities, jobs and careers to bring us a paycheck and yet when He - through the church, other ministries and/or needy people around us -- asks for just a portion of it back, we grumble and hoard our money in order to keep it from getting taken away.
Many Christians have a problem with tithing and giving because they fail to realize that our money is not our own. It is God’s money and we are each just a steward of a certain amount. Psalms 24:1 says “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” When we remember that the money we tithe and give wasn’t ours in the first place, it becomes easier for us to give it back to God. We can also know that since everything in the world is God’s, then He can (and will) easily replace the money we give and will fulfill all our needs.
With constant bills and pressing needs, it can be easy sometimes to lose track of the big picture. But when we take time to step back and realize that God really does own it all, it not only enables us to give more easily, but we also develop a peace in our hearts because we remember who God is and how much He really cares for us. He isn’t just out to get our money.
I think one of the main reasons people are apprehensive or afraid to give is logical -- they don’t think they will have enough money left over for their necessities or their wants. Yes, in the logical sense when you give something away, you are left with less. But God’s kingdom is different. God put laws into place that will bring you more when you give, not leave you with less. Luke 6:38 says “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." 2 Corinthians 9:6 similarly says “He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.”
God asks us to give because He knows it will bring increase in our lives, not only monetarily, but also spiritually as we learn to think less of our own needs and more of others’. Just like when I would take my dog’s bone away from her for her own good, God wants us to give for our own good, as well as the good of others. When our hearts aren’t controlled and ruled by our money, then our lives are open to so much more in the world and we are able to appreciate the really important things in life like family, friends, our call to be Christ’s witnesses in the world -- and most importantly our relationship with Jesus Himself.
Do you ever feel a wince of pain or tinge of regret when you give? If so, I encourage you to meditate on these few scriptures and ask God to help you renew your mind to His plan for your money, which includes giving. As you change your thought to align with God’s Word you won’t find yourself growling at God when it comes offering time. Instead, you’ll be eager and willing to give because you understand God’s giving principles.
Originally posted June 6, 2008 in Crosswalk Finances.
Cortni Marrazzo currently resides in Spokane, Washington with her husband Jason. She has an Associate’s Degree in Biblical Discipleship from Dominion College and is currently pursuing her passion for writing and personal finance. She and her husband successfully paid off over $11,000 worth of debt in their first year of marriage and she desires to help others reach their financial potential. Contact her at Cortni_marrazzo@hotmail.com.