Friday, September 02, 2016

Painless Generosity

It's easy to be generous if no sacrifice is required on my part! This is from September 3, 2012.

Every Sunday morning, I'm part of two worship services, one in English and one in the Chinese language. After the English service yesterday, Dr. Robert Farrar, our WCS chaplain, asked me if I had seen Larry Hale, who is in charge of securing the collection so it can be counted. I told Doc that I hadn't. He explained there was a lady who had not finished her check in time to drop it in the offering so she gave it to Doc so he could get it to the proper place. I told him that I would be glad to place it in the Chinese offering as it ends up in the same treasury, anyway. And so Doc gave the sister's contribution to me which is how it ended up in our Chinese total. As I made a few comments before the offering to our Mandarin speaking group, I made the point that even though I was dropping the check into the shiny plate, it was through no generosity of my own. It didn't cost me anything and it was not sacrificial, at least not from my end. I just dropped the rectangular piece of blue paper from an unknown bank  and an unknown lady into the receptacle and others took it from there.

Sometimes, I think we must have a different view of our giving than God does. We fail to give of our best, what used to be called first fruits. Let me give you an example. At the beginning of inservice, our administration gave all of our WCS faculty a brand new Nike polo shirt, monogrammed with our school logo/insignia, and they looked very nice. I took one but because I don't wear polo shirts, I knew I would never put it on. Last week, one of our staff suggested I could give it to a young man who is an adjunct coach working with our middle school boys' basketball program. This coach has no Westbury Christian gear and could definitely use an official WCS shirt. He was very surprised and grateful for the gift. Did I do anything extraordinarily kind or generous? Of course not; I was never going to wear it myself and it was just occupying space on my desk.  I think our giving sometimes falls into that kind of category; leftovers, after thoughts, painless. And it's just not money; I believe our time is similarly dispensed as part of our walk with the Lord. Remember how David was offered all the elements of an offering to the Lord for free- his reply should be a reminder to us:
But King David replied to Araunah, "No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the LORD what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing."
(1 Chronicles 21:24)
I just met with Charlotte and her mother at a nearby IHOP as we went over the details of her wedding, only thirty-three days off. Charlotte (and Tyler) honored me greatly by asking me to officiate what most girls consider the biggest event of their lives. What would this bride, who will be stunning, think if I wore ragged clothes and worn out shoes while she is adorned with the most beautiful dress she will ever wear? I hope that's not how the Lord sees my returning to Him what already is His. God gave His best for me by offering His Son. How in good conscience can I not reciprocate in kind?

Applicable quote of the day:

“I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusement, etc., is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our giving does not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say it is too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot because our commitment to giving excludes them.”
C.S. Lewis

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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