The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Cor. 9:6-7

My wife taught me a hard lesson not long ago. We went to one of our favorite restaurants that happened to be having a canned food drive to help stock the local foodbank. If you brought in five cans of food you got a $10 coupon off your food or drink. This was right up my alley I thought.  I will look for the best deals on canned goods thereby maximizing my return on the $10.  My wife on the other hand, kept looking at the ingredients and nutrition information on the cans wanting to get something healthy.  My attitude was essentially, “They will get food regardless, so let’s get the best value out of the promotion”.

It was at this point that I said something she quickly called me on.  I said, “If we spend $10 on canned goods to get $10 back, that doesn’t make any sense.”  To which she pointedly replied, “I thought the idea was to help people”.  Ouch! You could call my analysis frugal, but it was cheap and self-focused.  There are times when frugality is an appropriate trait, but I’m quite sure a frugal heart is never appropriate.  Check out the attitude of the believers in Macedonia when it came to giving. It doesn’t sound like they were looking for the cheapest deal on can goods!

For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. 2 Cor. 5:3-4

My wife was right, I had missed the whole point.  Giving is not about a financial measure of return as much as it is a measure of the heart. If we aren’t careful we treat our resources as the owner instead of the manager of them. God has entrusted us all with skills, talents, and financial resources that are to be used to help others and advance His kingdom. The question is, are we actively looking for ways to put them to use? 

Instead of holding our resources in closed fists, we should hold them with open hands, ready to give as God prompts us. What I did that day, I’m not proud of, but it revealed a subtle attitude that had crept in to my thinking. My hope is that the next time I face a decision like this my focus will be on what is possible through giving as opposed what I am giving up.  We might be quick to call that kind of an attitude generosity, but according to scripture it is simply obedience.

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. – Winston Churchill

Don’t be guilty of a frugal heart.

Live this week on purpose,
Ron Klopfenstein

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