Giving 'Til It Does NOT Hurt

Matthew 6:1-4

1“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

In the midst of Jesus' famous Sermon on the Mount, he provides an important word concerning giving.  We all know that giving and generosity are part of our calling as followers of Christ.  We are to give not only our finances, but also our time, our talents and our ultimately our hearts.  And while we are all aware of this mandate from the Lord, it's that last aspect of giving which can sometimes be the most difficult - giving from our heart.  The call to tithe and give generously strikes everyone at different levels, because we're each at different places of spiritual maturity in our faith walks.  But sometimes we get so tripped up by a specific dollar amount, and that's not what God is after.  In fact, He applauded the amount the poor widow gave (two small copper coins) more than all the other donations of the rich.  He's interested in our heart posture when we give more than how much we actually give.

So how do we grow our hearts when it comes to giving?  One great way is to do as Jesus instructed in the verses above.  When we give, we don't need to announce it to everyone.  In fact, we shouldn't announce it to be recognized by others.  This may seem easier said than done, but there's a prideful part deep inside everyone of us that likes to be acknowledged.  And that can spill over into our giving habits as well.  I'm not saying we should be ashamed of giving whatever amount we do, but if our motivation for giving has been tainted, then we've missed the point entirely.  And like the passage says after all, isn't it enough that our Lord sees how much we give?

The old saying, "give til it hurts" means that we should give until it really hits us hard, and we're feeling we're having to make a huge sacrifice.  But I would argue that we should grow hearts of generosity beyond that, to the point that it does NOT hurt.  That's where we're at that place in our faith where giving and generosity become just as natural and effortless as breathing.  We won't have to think twice and hem and haw over every nickel, and debate the countless reasons why someone or something is or isn't worth our giving.  Giving and generosity should flow from us just as abundantly and non-judgmentally like grace and forgiveness does from our Father in Heaven.  At that point, giving in secret becomes an afterthought.  

In our Compassion Ministries, it's been such a blessing to see our Cornerstone family give abundantly and "in secret" this year.  Folks have selflessly provided weekly groceries to financially hurting families through the Jubilee Grocery Program.  The program (and need) has lasted over a year now, yet I am continually encouraged to see people in our church stepping up to bless predominantly low-income homes, knowing that these groceries are faceless.  But those hurting families DO know that they've been provided out of God's love.  Our recent World Relief Welcome Kit Drive through the month of September is another testimony of extravagant, selfless giving.  Hundreds of Afghan refugees are being blessed anonymously with bedroom furnishings, kitchen equipment and school supplies.  Some of these kits cost hundreds of dollars each, but we've had individuals and CGs pull together over 30 kits, answering God's call to give to the needy.....praise the Lord!!

My prayer is that Cornerstone continues to grow generous hearts of compassion to the point that it doesn't hurt.  Giving not just out of obedience to the Lord, but in our desire to be more like Jesus in having an outwardly mindset and heart for the broken.  On top of all that, when we do these things for His eyes and not the world's, our Father will surely bless us with the greatest rewards.

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