I was a tightwad. Don't be nice and tell me I was frugal. I was cheap. I had a lot of good moves. I could win a dance marathon. I look back at some of the decisions I made with my money and I'm a little embarrassed. Since I've been married, my wife has helped me transform into a giver. Now, together my wife and I tithe. That means we give the first 10 percent of the money we earn to the church and various ministries. It wasn't easy at first. But I made the decision to trust God. I wasn't able to tithe before because I wasn't able to trust God. I have found new joy in giving.
I know that sounds kind of mad... I give away my money and I feel good about it. But it's true. OK - maybe I am a little mad. But the more I show God my faith, the more he shows me his faithfulness. Don't get me wrong, I'm not buying God's love. I'm just saying that the more I show God I trust him the more he honors that trust I place in him.
Now on Sunday mornings when the plate comes around I feel good about what we put in. I have to admit my wife writes the check. The first time I sat down to write a check to the church my hand started to shake and I couldn't spell out the amount. I apparently still needed time to transform into a giver. Since then my wife has continued to write the checks and I am OK with it. Besides, I'm busy giving the sermon and doing other things anyway. However, we go over our finances together and it actually feels good to see what we are giving.
A lot of us do some dancing when we're asked to give. We sidestep our financial responsibilities, dip under a request, pirouette around a promise we made, and we do a tango with our own responsibility as human beings to help out our neighbor. We don't like to let go of what we have. But dancing like that is like trying to loose your dance partner in order to control the room. Some dances require a partner. But no dance that is forced is enjoyable.
What joy it could be if we would do a different kind of dance. To find delight in sharing. To give our resources without trying to push someone else away. To share the dance floor and allow God, as a partner, to leads us across the room to the rhythm of a new song.
Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. - 2 Corinthians 9:7
Even though I now feel good giving, I'm not ready to get up and dance in the middle of service. Does giving make you feel as good as this guy?