Sunday, March 26, 2006

"Give And Let God..."

For the past 5 or 6 months, I have bought some old things, and resold them on eBay, or gone through my house to sell some stuff on eBay, or done small computer jobs for people at work (on their home computer's).

I have saved up almost enough money all in the hopes of buying a small boat, motor, and trailer combo.

But today, in Sunday school, we were talking about Proverbs. Proverbs is a cool book to read because you have the smartest and richest man to ever have lived basically giving you free advice. Think about it; what if, say, Bill Gates came up to you and said "I've made some mistakes in life and I have had some triumps in life... want some advice from me?" We'd take it in a heartbeat. Okay, Gates may be a bad example, I was just going by his wealth.

Okay, so check out Proverbs 3:9-10...
"Give honour to the Lord with your wealth, and with the first-fruits of all your increase...
"So your store-houses will be full of grain, and your vessels overflowing with new wine..."

Back in the day, the first thing to come off your vine, the first born of your livestock, or the first fruits of your fields all went to God, no questions asked...

So that got me to thinking: Should I just up and toss all that cash in the collection plate? I mean, just to see what happens? I mean, that would be an act of faith wouldn't it? Of course, I would assume God can reward faith in different ways other than doubling what I gave in cash... He could make something happen in my life that is worth more than money...

So as I am thinking about performing this spiritual experiment I start thinking "Nah, maybe Ill just give 10% of it to the church." Which leads me to THEN think to myself "What? You don't think God is good enough for all of it?"

So what is the advice from my friends? Oh, I know it'll be easy to say "Sure! Just toss it in the basket man! God will bless you!" because it isn't your money.

A year or so ago, I had saved up alot more money than this, but I got some of in a manner that would be frowned upon by most. With that money (and some more that was honest gain) I bought a Corvette... I also made no effort to contribute any of that extra money to God. It didn't take long for (in my opinion) God to show me who is in charge... and the rest is history. So I don't care to test God anymore.

FYI, whatever I decide I won't tell any of you. That would sort of defeat the purpose of giving. I won't be doing it to "show off".

33 comments:

Brewster said...

I do think there is something to the notion of giving to God and getting something in return. There isn't some kind of ratio where if you give XX dollars you will get XXXX in return. But I have found that when I am generous, I am never left wanting.

But there is also nothing wrong with saving up and buying something nice.

I would say since you're thinking about it already is to look at your contribution weekly. Could you give more? When you do give do you think about all the cool stuff you could buy instead? You know your budget, you know your heart. You know the answer to your question already.

Jamison said...

Well, see, we do budget for our weekly contribution, and we have used this budget for 6 years, so it is sort of 'automatic' to us. In a way this is good because we dont ever think "Man, if we didnt give this month we could spend this money on X". But, at the same time, it is (as we say ) just "going through the motions".

Brewster said...

And I'd be willing to bet both your income and your expenses have changed. So probably that six year old contribution budget could use some adjusting.

We've been reconfiguring ours since our return home. We've actually lessened it a bit so that we can send the French missionary some cashola on our own (the church here isn't willing to support them)

Brewster said...

And don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that you aren't giving enough. I don't know what you give and it's none of my business. It's just probably a good idea for all of us to periodically look at what we give and why.

Jamison said...

No no Brew... I understand, and I should have mentioned that the amount has changed yes, but the budget and use of the budget hasn't. Yes, we raise it anytime we get raises and such.

bigsip said...

I've talked about this many times with Rachel and other christians.

I don't necessarily think you should give the money, but I do think that we as a "culture" of wealthy people don't sacrifice enough to give to God.

Consider the widow's mite and Jesus' observations about her heart and giving.

She gave all she had.

I'm obviously not recommending that we give all of our money. I'm just saying that we don't give till it hurts, or stings, or even slightly pinches.

Who of us would give up cable TV to give more? High-speed internet? Soft drinks?

These are simple things. It would sting a little to give up some things like this to give more to God.

But, if we do it with a good attitude out of love for God, our lives will be changed.

When it comes down to it, we should only give "scripturally". Giving extra like so many early christians did (selling property and giving to God) is between the person and God.

But, if it were me, I'd give some to God and get the boat.

Rachel said...

Here's the thing- now that your heart has been pricked by this desire to give, you won't be able to just walk away from it. If you don't give some of the money, you'll feel bad every time you get in that boat.

But I also don't think you need to give the whole thing. My opinion is this. Don't focus on the 10% thing. Decide what would be a sacrifice to you. What would make you have to work just a little harder to earn that boat? Give that much.

Jamison said...

Good one Rach... but it would be kind of a cool experiment to give it all, just to see what happened...

Rachel said...

But then you've got the problem of motivation. Testing God, not so good. (I know that wasn't your intention, though.)

Jamison said...

man, now it is getting confusing...

mullinz8 said...

In six months you’ve made enough money to buy something you really like with most likely very little effort on your part and some time spent.

You’re very good at saving and making the money and this should be a clue. I doubt that there isn’t a way, with your talents, that you couldn’t remake that money and more should you choose to.

I know you want the boat but lots of boats are made and sold all the time. If you are feeling the desire to give it to the church or some other faith based organization do it.

If you feel good about it then make the money again and buy your boat no questions asked. You’ll have more motivation in making the cash the second time because you know your first fruits went to the Lord. The second harvest is yours to do with as you see fit.

If I were Buddhist I would tell you to give the money away because you shouldn’t be concerned with the things of this world. Some time later should the opportunity to do the same work come back around and a better boat come around you would know that your karma is reciprocating your good will towards mankind.

Still the same principle applies.

Then again you made the money and if you’re giving what you feel is acceptable to the church already then buy your boat, no one here will fault you for treating yourself to a gift. Next time I head south I’ll expect a fishing trip.

mullinz8 said...

Three priests are standing on the golf course discussing their parish’s finances as they are teeing off. As the subject turns to monetary distribution and their salaries one padre states he lives off of a meager stipend of 10% of the contribution closing saying “God will take care of me.”

The second begins a diatribe of a complex series of financial quotes from the latest money markets and values and a sliding scale of worth and work vs. donations and closing with “We’ll take care of God’s flock.”

Hearing this, the third priest tells his colleagues “You both have it all wrong; I let God handle everything personally.”

Shocked the priests inquire how the Lord distributes the parish’s funds personally.

“Every Sunday after services I take the collection to the parking lot and throw it into the air.”

Aghast the fellow church leaders question how this would work.

After a clean drive off the tee the third priest watches the ball roll to a stop in the center of the fairway he turns to the others and states. “God has got what ever he needs. I figure that if he needs anything else he can grab it when the money is in the air, what falls down he obviously doesn’t need so that’s what I take.”

bigsip said...

I'm with Rachel on using your heart on this one. Sounds like your heart is telling you to give the whole chunk, but again, that's your business.

I don't think God "expects" you to give all of it, but He does want us to give with a good heart and clear conscience. Follow that rule and you won't go wrong, my friend.

Brewster said...

Here's what you should do. Find something that is near and dear to your heart. And give to that.

So instead of the wad of cash going into the general church fund where you won't see what happens to it. Give it to the church under the condition that they do XXX with it.

Or give it to a missonary that really needs it.

Or make it a scholarship for Faulkner.

Make it a special contribution where you can actually get something good done. That will give you much more satisfaction than any old boat.

mullinz8 said...

Didn’t you say that you really liked the inner city ministry you worked with, that was you wasn’t it?

Give it directly to them.

There is a new organization in TN called Matt’s kids, you could always give it to them…

Jamison said...

I read about the Matt's Kids fund... heard it was a couple of scammers who invite the donors to meet them in a drainage ditch and never show up...

Yudelka said...

I hope you guys don't mind my jumping in, since I have been invited. Well, sort of indirectly.

Anyway, first off, I think this is wonderful, how you guys get on here and have Godly discussions. You don't all go to the same church, do you?

Jamison,
I think it's great that God is pressing upon your heart to give, and obviously, to do so abundantly. This shows a lot about your obedience to God, whether or not you give it all, you take heed to his calling.

I think you're right about anyone else saying, "Give it all." It won't hurt them. I honestly don't think I would. Like Josh stated about most people, I don't think I've ever given until it really hurt.

Have you considered this though, what if God's purpose for saving up that money was so that you give it, or most of it, or even half? Maybe God will press on your heart a certain cause, people, need, etc. Maybe it worked out this way because you probably would not have saved any of it if it were for giving it to God. I'm not saying you should, but the thought almost instantly struck me.

Now that I've probably brought more confusion, let me say this.
You are obviously a wonderful stewart of God's belongings. I'm sure he has, and continues to bless your life.

Whatever you do, heed to His voice and His alone. Perhaps, most of us are nothing but satan's tool at the moment.

I hope you clearly hear from God. So, as my pastor would say at the moment, "Pray about it!"

Wish you the best in your walk with God.

bigsip said...

Cool!

Thanks for visiting Yudelka!

BTW, guys. Yudelka is one of my good friends from the Writer's Digest Forums. She's a godly lady and quite the writer if I do say so myself.

Post anytime, Judy!

Rachel said...

I like Brew's idea about giving to something specific. It can be discouraging to think you've saved up all that money to pay a tenth of the church's air conditioning bill or something. I figure that's better left to the budgeted contributions.

Of course, you could always start a fund for Brew's church to buy paper plates. I've heard there's a need.

mullinz8 said...

Yudelka, welcome and please feel free to continue to contribute.

At least those folks at Matt’s kids don’t show up with baseball bats and bike chains.

Here is something that I think is odd now. Though none of us would ever fault you for buying the boat tomorrow yet it’s funny because we haven’t saved and worked for the money and we’ve already given it away for you.

I wonder if this gift you were planning on maybe giving isn’t feeling like an obligation now.

The trick is that it’s not hard to miss a boat sitting in your driveway. I won’t see it but if in a week Sipper shows up are you going to wonder what he’s thinking?

Maybe you were looking for us to tell you it’s alright to indulge in a gift and I for one think it is just fine. In a not going against the grain just to go against the grain sort of way I think it’s fine for you to buy the boat God bless. God has given you the ability to make this extra money and you’re a faithful giver to begin with, perhaps it’s already a reward for your physical, mental and physical contribution.

Disclaimer: Guys, if Jamison drowns after buying this boat it’s not my fault. Paper plate fund, that's funny...

Ryan F. said...

I think that Matt 25 applies to this very well. It's not so much giving to God (though it is) because he doesn't need our money, but rather giving to help others. Jesus says that if we do something for the least of these, we do it for him. I think if God has blessed you, you should look to bless someone else. Not with ALL of the money, but with some of it. Say, ok, God blessed me with an opportunity to gain an extra $1000 that others may not have been able to earn. I should take x dollars and help someone in need. Maybe a missionary, take a college student to lunch, whatever. It doesn't necessarily have to go in the collection plate.

Yudelka said...

Thanks, Josh & Mullin, for the warm welcome - and that fine compliment, Josh.

I'll come back to look at a picture of that boat, or the paper plates.

Brewster said...

Oh, I forgot, you are very welcome here Yudelka. We ramble about a lot of things and share a lot of common ground, and yet we are all rather different and enjoy a good debate. You may read or join into any discussion you please.

To answer a question we do not all attend the same congregation, but are members of the same faith.

Jamison said...

Josh and I attend the same church however...

yctmjghd

good grief! some of these word verifications are looooong

bigsip said...

I thought that was an acronym for a second there.

yctmjghd

You

Could

Take

Me

Just

Go

Here

Dude

Jamison said...

HA!
People may think I like acronyms, but I will hand it to Sip; He can take any random group of letters and make it an acronym for something...

Maybe he has the opposite talent that I do!

bigsip said...

Yes! I'm oil to your water. Your arch nemesis!

Well, not really. I think I'm more like a lousy sidekick...

tnmommieof2 said...

there are no sidekicks...

you are "hero support"

to quote the movie "Sky High"

isaac loves it...kinda cute...

Jamison said...

no nemisis, no oil to water, not a man like you!

Sips are good folk, fed Larissa and I last night after her doctors visit. PLayed in a sandbox...

Brewster said...

I definitely think you can do whatever you want. If you decide to get a boat that's way cool. You give already. If you want to give more that's aweseome. If you want to enjoy it a bit, that's cool too.

Jamison said...

I gave it all to Tim Mueter.. sorry...

bigsip said...

Great! He'll spend it all on silly, feathered hats and stockings and cloaks.

mullinz8 said...

Are you aware of the market for silly feathered hats in this country..?