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Saturday, January 31, 2015

"How"... more important than "What."

A lot has been said about the importance of giving to the Lord. Deut 16:17; Proverbs 3:9-10; Malachi 3:10-12; Luke 6:38 and 2 Corinthians 9: 6-11 are a few of the passages that come to mind.
Let's read 2 Corinthians 9:7:
"Each one of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give.
You should not give if it makes you unhappy or if you feel forced to give.
God loves those who are happy to give." (Easy-to-Read Version) 

Note that this verse encourages us to give - only if we're happy to do so. The very first time God asked for an offering was in Exodus 25 - let's read the first 2 verses:
"The Lord said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites to bring me gifts.
You will accept gifts for me from everyone who is willing to give. 
(Easy-to-Read Version - emphasis mine) 

These 2 passages of scripture also highlight how important the "how" of giving is:
Jesus sat across from the collection box for the temple treasury and observed how the crowd gave their money. Many rich people were throwing in lots of money. One poor widow came forward and put in two small copper coins worth a penny.  Jesus called his disciples to him and said, "I assure you that this poor widow has put in more than everyone who’s been putting money in the treasury.  All of them are giving out of their spare change. But she from her hopeless poverty has given everything she had, even what she needed to live on."* (emphasis mine)
Jesus looked up and saw some rich people tossing their gifts into the offering box. He also saw a poor widow putting in a few cents. And he said, “I tell you that this poor woman has put in more than all the others. Everyone else gave what they didn't need. But she is very poor and gave everything she had.”** (emphasis mine)
My advice: If you're not happy about (or when) giving to God, don't bother...He won't accept it. For God, it's not about the quantity (amount) of the gift, it's all about the quality (the heart). 
* Mark 12:41-44 - CEB
** Luke 21:1-4 - CEV

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