Monday, December 04, 2006

"Gimme, gimme" to "Take It, take it!"

The topic of "Giving" has somehow found it's way into my life multiple times recently. I'm embarassed to say that this is a facet of my walk with God that is lacking in a severe way.

You see, we have been the recipients of giving quite a bit during our ministry, but rarely have we been givers. Oh sure, I tell myself that I give lots of my time and all my effort, sometimes even working at "odd' hours! I seem to justify my lack of giving quite often.

This passage from 2 Corinthians 9 really spoke to me:

6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written: "He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever." 10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

I don't want to be a "reluctant giver" any more. I don't want to give because I feel "pushed" to give (even though my teens have noticed my problem and say, "Franklin, you'll get it right back! It's like you're paying yourself anyway!") I know they don't mean to "push" me, so maybe I should take it as a challenge.
I want to give because God has given so much to me! Tracy and I have decided to start off small, but give CONSISTENTLY, which we have never done. We decided to be consistent because GOD has been consistent in blessing us!!
I have always wanted to be a "giver." I always thought it would be cool to help somebody pay off some debt, or drop off some surprise cash around Christmas time for a struggling family. But first, I need to learn to be a giver so that "you will be made rich in every way SO THAT you can be generous on every occasion..."


carrie said...

This is one lesson that Brad and I have struggled with, also. You know how much money we lost at one time and we felt we couldn't give and we didn't. I remember the week we decided to give a small amount. It truly was a leap of faith. That week we really did get a check that was unexpected that was over 3 times the amount we gave! We also got a raise in pay out of no where. We are not perfect at this, but we have really improved and we have never been without money after giving. I have started to pray that God will help us to be good stewards of our money. It has really changed what I buy! I will pray that God will lead you and Tracy as you start to take those first steps. He will not leave you!

Nana said...

Very good message Franklin. I could not help but to think about Aunt Shelly, she has always gave when she did not have to give,but she gave. The Lord has bless her with money that has come in from different places, and to watch her bless people she does not know in the service area, working where they were cleaning off tables or working in a recyle center she gives. The more she gives away the more she gets. This Christmas alone she has helped people who could not even afford a Christmas tree. She gives not to get back, but the joy she receives by giving.

Shane Coffman said...

Franklin, thanks for sharing a weakness here for all to see. I think that helps everyone remember that as Christians, and even as ministers, we are all still real people, and we don't always have it all together perfectly. I'm glad that you're willing to take a look at one aspect of your life that you're unhappy with and do something to make a change. That is admirable.

Alice and I took the step to tithing about 5 years ago. We had been consistent givers all along, but that came to about 5%, which I seem to remember reading is the national average whether you attend church or not. We decided that we as Christians should be more generous than the average person. So, we started by immediately deciding to tithe on our net income. After a year or two we stepped it up to our gross income. After a year or two there, we stepped it up to exceeding 10%, and that's where we are today.

I don't say any of that to boast. I just want you to know that in the first couple of years, when that whole idea was new to us, we had a lot of reservations and fear. That was a lot of money we were giving away. Money that at times we thought could be better used to pay off debts or put into savings or spent on a vacation. It was hard.

So, I'm warning you that this not an easy trip you are embarking on. There will always be excuses to not take the next step, or to skip a week or a month. But, know that God is faithful. We've never been found in need since we started. These past 6 months, when we've moved, both of us have taken pay cuts in our new work, and we're having to pay two mortgages because our old house won't sell, it would have been easy to say, "Well, we should cut back on our giving until the house sells." Nope. We refuse. We are still giving the same amount we were before we moved. He has been faithful all along. I figure it is my turn now.

Test Him in this. He begs us to.