“A gift is appreciated because of what a person can afford, not because of what that person can’t afford, if it’s apparent that it’s done willingly.” 2 Corinthians 8:7-15 (CEB)
When I began tithing to my church, it was quite by accident. I changed jobs in the middle of the year and took a large pay cut, so I had to consider whether or not I could give what I had pledged (which obviously wasn’t a tithe on my previous salary!).
After much consideration and prayer, I decided to leave my pledge as it was and give that amount to the church every week. Much to my surprise, I was tithing and didn’t have any “ill affects” from giving that amount. It taught me a lot about my attitude toward giving.
In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians addresses giving happily or grudgingly. He reminds the congregation in Corinth that their giving isn’t about straining to give but about giving what they can afford to give. In addition, he reminds them that they need to give willingly, not with resentment.
A gift given resentfully is not really a gift, is it? God doesn’t want our begrudging offerings. Those come from a place of resentment. However, when someone is being practical and giving what they can give, the gifts take on more meaning for the person giving them.
After I realized that I was actually tithing, I was so happy. In many ways, I had been afraid to tithe because I thought for sure I wouldn’t have enough money for living expenses, and there have been times in my life when I have had to scale back on my giving because of an unexpected expense or hardship. However, I always have tried to tithe to the best of my ability.
I do it because I know I have it to share with others who have little, and I know that it helps the church to continue in mission and ministry. Not everyone can tithe 10%, so it’s good to stop and really ask ourselves and God what we can give. Maybe we’ll discover that we are giving what we can afford because we gave up something we really didn’t need. Who knows!
What do you give to support mission and ministry?
How is your heart when you give?
Have you found joy in giving?