By Bruce Schlenke
When I was a boy, I was a grudge-giver. My mom and dad would make me give a nickel of my meager allowance each week to the Sunday school offering. I gave because I had to. I really wasn’t very happy about it, but I guess it did instill a good habit in me.
Yes, Mom and Dad’s coercion served me and Christ’s church pretty well. For, after I committed my life to Jesus Christ in my teens and had more control over my resources, I became a duty-giver. I learned that giving back to God a portion of my income was a definite part of being a Christian believer, an important indicator of my faith in God. So, I did it – willingly, not grudgingly. I gave because I ought to. My tithe (a tenth of my material gain) was the biblical standard, and I was blessed as I fulfilled the command.
But over these last many years, I have become a thanks-giver. With marriage and children, and now grandchildren, my ever-increasing awareness of God’s tremendous blessing in my life has made me so totally grateful. I cannot not give to the Lord’s work. It’s ironic and amazing. I want to give! God has been so good to me, so active in my life and the lives of our whole family. What a joy there is in being a thanks-giver! This is especially true for me as I see the transforming power of ministries that carry my gifts to places and people in need of love, care and Jesus.
Sometimes I get grabby and slip back into grudge-giving. Not good. However, I never dismiss the benefit to me and to God’s Kingdom of duty-giving, for it is what I am called to do as a Christian believer. That’s good. But even more, I grow in my gratitude to God and overflow with joy of living for Jesus’ purposes when I thanks-give. And that’s really good!
2 Corinthians 9:7: Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.