One Sunday, a very long time ago, during church the priest announced a second, special offering collection for a member of the congregation. The church’s piano player opened her purse and saw a five dollar bill. She was a single mother, and times were very lean. But when the collection basket came to her, she put the five dollar bill – the last of her cash – in the basket. At the end of the service, the priest presented her with the money. The special collection was for her.
What we give God multiplies.
This happened at my mother’s church a very long time ago, and it has always stood out to me as the perfect example of what it should look like to give our treasure to God. In particular, it highlights three key points.
(1) You should feel what you give. This is a hard one for me, and one I still struggle with. I remember getting my first real job. I started on October 1, 2007. Given this company’s pay cycle, I wouldn’t get my first real paycheck until November 1. In my naive mind, I had taken my gross salary and divided it up by 12. That whole month I worked, spending my first paycheck in my mind. However, when I got the actual paycheck and saw my net pay, it was as if I had knocked the wind out of me. State taxes, federal taxes, unemployment taxes, payroll taxes, Medicare taxes, etc. I was paying for things I had never even heard of and was left with much less than I had worked so hard for! To imagine then giving away another piece of the pie before I had one bite? It’s a hard concept and takes a lot of discipline.
What makes it easier is knowing that (2) What we give, God multiplies. It took reading the Bible in One Year series for me to realize that Jesus fed thousands with few loaves and fishes several times. Miraculous? Yes. But rare? No. God will do the same with our gifts as well. Our first fruits will be multiplied many times over — and maybe even accomplish miracles — through the hand of Jesus.
When we give our treasure, it requires (3) faith that God will take care of us. This is fundamental. In fact we pray it every Sunday: “Give us this day our daily bread.” In the story my mother told me, God provided for the woman and her child. It wasn’t Publishers Clearing House or the lottery where she was set for life, but it gave provision for the immediate future. I always found it fascinating that when Moses and God’s people wandered the desert, it rained manna, but that manna would rot overnight so that they had to gather it again in the morning. We must go to God daily for our provisions. And He will take care of us. No amount of investing or spreadsheeting or budgeting can provide the security of God.
As we enter this time of Lent, I urge us all to re-evaluate our own giving, ensuring we feel it, knowing God will multiply our gifts, and having faith that He will take care of our needs.