Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. 2 Corinthians 9:6-8
I’m on a journey with money.
This odyssey has been paved with many baby steps, a couple leaps and bounds, and a whole lot of aimless wandering. Here are a few of the highlights and lowlights:
- In my teens, I felt such financial insecurity within our family that I secretly slipped my babysitting money into my mom’s purse to make sure she could pay for things.
- In my 20s, while at my first job out of college, I went into debt using credit cards to live above my meager means.
- In my 30s, I married my awesome husband. Feeling I had to pull my own weight, I circled food on our grocery receipt that I ate and he didn’t, insisting on paying him back for “my share.”
- In my 40s, I became a Christ-follower and started hearing about these foreign concepts called stewardship and generosity, and began to act on them.
- In my 50s, I went through the “Financial Peace University” program with my husband, and now we’re applying (imperfectly) what Dave Ramsey teaches, especially about debt and giving. (Budgeting…ah, that’s been harder!)
Looking over this list, I see how money truly has been a spiritual indicator, as Mike Ashcraft points out during the Still God’s series. I am ever-so-slowly moving from desperation/fear/grasping to opening my hands and heart. If we truly trust God, we don’t have to be afraid to let it go. Giving money to our church and those in need can be a statement of trust in His provision, as can paying our bills. Living within our means and refusing to covet can be a testimony of our contentment — proof that enough really is enough.
Mike addresses receiving, too. After all, the Gospel hinges on our ability to receive the free gift of salvation through Jesus. We can graciously and gratefully receive God’s provision, whatever the monetary amount. We can refuse to covet what our neighbor has because there will always be people with more than us and there will always be people with less than us.
None of this comes naturally — at least not for me. But it does come supernaturally. God gives us the help we need with our attitudes and behaviors around money. He won’t force His will on us because He’s a gentleman; He wants to be asked. When I ask, He responds like the loving, gracious, on-my-side Father that He is.
- What does it look like to be a “cheerful giver”? How about a “cheerful receiver”?
- What small steps can you take today to become both?
Dear Heavenly Father, You made us and You sustain us. Give us the courage to give intentionally. Grant us the humility to receive gratefully. Help us see money not as the be-all-end-all, but as an indication of where we are with You. Thank you for daily provision, and for providing Your own Son to pay the price for our sins. Amen.
PC3 writer Katy Davis wrote today’s devotional.