Over the last few weeks, Pastor Dennis has been speaking on how God shapes our heart. I want to continue in that same vein with a teaching titled “Giving From the Heart”. We haven’t spent a lot of time teaching on giving here at Christ Covenant. Not because it isn’t important, but because we have seen the generosity of the people in this body to support this church and our leaders as well as our members as they have needs. Many of our members also give financial support to missionaries who spread the Gospel both here in the US and abroad. When Larry Neese was here a few weeks ago, I know that several folks heard God to pay for the two years of training for pastors in Kenya and Uganda. I’m proud to walk with brothers and sisters who step up and answer the call to give when we have a need for benevolence for one of our own members. You have proven yourself to be a generous people and I believe God has blessed our church because of your faithfulness.
But I think it is good to take time to re-examine our motives to be sure that our giving is continually directed by the Spirit and comes from our heart, and is not just some religious activity based on legalism or some imposed sense of obligation. I have observed that the condition, posture and attitude of a believer’s heart influences how they give. This is not only true with how we give of our treasure, but also how we give of our time and our talent.
For example, if we believe that our life belongs to Christ because he bought and paid for it with His own blood, then how we choose to spend our lives will be governed by that belief. If our time belongs to God, then we should seek God daily to see how he wants us to spend our time. The same goes for our money. If we believe that all we have comes from God, then He probably has something to say about how we spend what He has given us.
But we have a tendency, especially in our western culture, to fall into the trap of devoting and dedicating only portions of our life to God and then reserving the rest for ourselves. We compartmentalize our lives and decide which parts are God’s and which parts belong to us. Some Christians act like saints on Sundays, and then live like hell the rest of the week. We can fall into the same trap where our money is concerned. We can give a portion to God on Sunday, and then feel since we’ve given God His due, we are free to spend the rest as we see fit, never taking into account how the Spirit might lead us to use what we have. Without direction from God on how to rightly use what He has given us, we can fall into spending patterns that can actually restrict our ability to respond financially in the Spirit when a need arises, causing us to miss an opportunity to bless, and to be blessed.