Wednesday, August 6, 2014

How Much Is Enough? #ChristianBlogger

I have seen a few blog posts lately discussing the appropriate level of giving for Christian today.  We could get into a deep theological discussion about the law and grace, but haven't we missed the point?  If you have to ask how much is enough, then you are not in the right frame of mind to begin with.  If you are trying to find a level that is acceptable to God, then no level will satisfy God.  That may seem a little harsh, but let me explain.  God does not one single penny of your money.  He wants to be recognized for who he is, and he wants your heart.  When we begin to quantify God, then we have lost sight of who he really is.

C.S. Lewis had a couple great thoughts when it came to giving and God.  I believe it was in the Screwtape Letters that Screwtape laughs about the silly notion that OUR time is our own.  The same thing could be said about our resources.  There is nothing within your world where you are able to, with any credibility, say this right here is mine.  Even your very life is, but a gracious gift of God.  All of your resources belong to God.  You may work very hard, but even the health and vitality that allows you to work for those resources is a gift from God.  Secondly, if everything is a gift from God, then how can our returning those gifts enrich God.  We like to think ourselves great, because we have given to God but nothing was ours to begin with.  C.S. Lewis compared this situation to a father who gives his child six pence, in order that the child can buy him a gift.  When the father has received the gift, the father is six pence none the richer.  When we give to God, we are unable to enrich him.  We are simply returning to him, what he has graciously lavished on us.

If we look at the story of the widow's mite, then we can learn a valuable lesson.  The widow had come to realize to valuable things.  First, it all belonged to God.  Second, that God would sustain her if she were faithful.  God was not going to allow her to go without her needs.  She had recognized who God is, and she had placed all of her trust in him for her own sustainment.

How much is enough?  I would argue that there are people who give an enormous amount to charity, and yet have not does so in a God honoring way.  They still have greedy hearts.  They may write the check, but in their heart of hearts think that they have done a wonder for God.  I would also say that there are people who give every penny that they can possibly give.  Perhaps they have put themselves in a bad spot and cannot give a total tenth.  In their hearts they wish they were able to reach that level, but it is just not economically viable.  They feel a guilt that they have been unable to be completely faithful in their giving.  I would think that God would be far more pleased with the latter family, then the first.  They are giving out of their need, and not out of their abundance.  They realize that none of it belongs to them, and that it is all God's to begin with.  They are not trying to buy God's favor.  They are trying to live out their thankfulness to God for his loving-kindness to them.

God is more concerned about your heart.  If you want to please him with your giving, then place your heart in the offering plate.  We ought to live open-handed lives.  We should keep our eyes and hearts open to the need around us, and praise God for the opportunity to fill some of those needs.  How much is enough?  You tell me.  The Incarnate Son of God set aside his divinity to become a man.  He lived a sinless life and died a criminals death on the cross.  God heaped all of His wrath upon his only son.  All of this was done so that we might be brought back into a right relationship with our creator.  All of this was done while we were still engaged in a war against our Creator.  How much is that worth to you?

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