A couple of years ago I began praying over the words from a popular Hillsong song called Like an Avalanche. The song reads:
“Take my life, take all that I am
With all that I am I will love you
Take my heart, take all that I have
Jesus, how I adore you”
If I am honest what I was really saying was, “Take my heart, take all that I have, but please not my finances.” It was the beginning of my adventure out of college, and I had never given to a church before. Not growing up in a Christian home, it was never something I had to do, and only something I watched adults do. I heard over and over again that God has given us so much that we are to give generously back to him. Because I didn’t know how much to give, or even why we truly give, I thought I could get around it by giving generously in other ways.
For the next six months, I felt God tugging on my heart to give of my finances, but I wanted to give as an act of worship, and not as something else to check off a list. I kept telling myself, “When I am in my 30s I will give. When I am further in my career I will give. When I have a family I will give.” This was a backwards way of thinking, full of fear and distrust in the One who has given everything for me. Time and time again, I see how much I want to live for myself. Yet time and time again, I learn that my heart will only truly rest in God and God alone.
I felt embarrassed at my way of thinking and my reluctance to give, so I tearfully approached Erik, City Church's pastor, for wisdom. He reminded me that God is after our hearts, not our money. If we feel required to give and it is of guilt, is it really giving at all? Erik taught me to start small, even if that meant giving one percent.
What I discovered is that giving is both a privilege and a blessing. And it is a beautiful thing. In this process, Paul's words in 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 became more clear to me:
“Remember this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
(Written by Christie Geiling)