Giving Without Guilt or Remorse
Author : Tom Graneau
Have you ever given money to a charitable organization or church and felt that you gave too much? Do you sometimes feel guilty that your financial contribution is not enough? Have you ever given more money than usual and felt remorseful after the fact? Do you feel obligated to give in spite of your financial condition?
Giving is a good thing, so much so that the concept is programmed in the universe itself. God has created a give-and-take system within nature that enables everything to work smoothly. For examples, plants give out oxygen and receive carbon dioxide in return; rivers flow to the ocean and get replenished by rain; all living things are sustained by the earth, and they re-fertilize the ground at the end of life. For the same reason, human beings who receive blessings from God should be in the habit of sharing their goodness with others. Doing so keep the good things coming.
When this give-and-take concept is interrupted, life doesn’t work as well as expected. A lake with no inlet or outlet begins to stink and eventually dies; when the rain ceases to fall, the earth becomes barren, rivers stop flowing, and drought ravages all living things. People who give little or nothing at all could possibly experience similar fates. They are likely to lose what they have and risk putting themselves in a position of getting no additional blessings.
Be that as it may, giving was never intended to be complicated. In fact, the process was designed as a natural phenomenon, equally unencumbered as receiving something. It is not based on any predetermined criteria such as when to give, how much to give, and so forth. Instead, the act should be motivated by instinct, which means that it should be self-driven and influenced by no external forces. When done this way, both the giver and the receiver get blessed.
When the act is motivated or coached by external forces, the result is different. We often respond with fear and end up making pledges that are difficult to maintain. In so doing, we frequently experience remorse, confusion, and resentment, much of which are channeled toward self and those responsible for making us feel this way.
God loves a cheerful giver
If giving has any significance for Christians in addition to meeting a specific need in someone’s life, it is an act of worship. When you give, you’re not only reciprocating in the natural give-and-take phenomenon that God has established in the universe but also demonstrating your understanding of his influence in your life. Moreover, you’re revealing your personal gratitude for all the good that he has done for you and others, including your immediate family. In a sense, you’re removing the focus on you, for the time being, and reaching out to him with gestures of love and appreciation.
This is why the act should not be coerced by an outside agent, neither should there be any fixed condition associated with the performance. The Bible says it this way: “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). When the act is voluntary, it is free, open, and real, causing the heart to rejoice and expel gratitude toward heaven. God, in turn, takes pleasure in this genuine demonstration and continues to bless the giver.
God does not want your money
When the term “giving” is mentioned, the first thought that comes to mind is money. This is because we’ve been told that it is the closest thing to our heart and the object by which God tests our love for him. This is the same rational that motivates certain individuals to build huge, costly temples or cathedrals in the name of God, thinking that he should be impressed by these buildings and shower extra blessings from heaven as a result. But let it be understood that Bible does not support this concept. He doesn’t necessarily feel jubilant about our financial gifts. Neither is he inclined to test our love for him through monetary channels or any other material object (Psalm 50: 10-15).
Most importantly, God is interested in our spiritual condition: The state of our hearts! He wants you to make it to heaven, and your heart needs to be pure enough, at least to his standard holiness, to make the journey from here to there. If your spiritual condition is not right with him, there is little you can do to impress him. “Blessed are the pure in heart,” said Jesus, “for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). The phrase “for they shall see God” does not necessarily suggests visual contact in this life, but rather, in the next. Seemingly, only the pure in heart will make it to heaven.
That said, your giving should have no specific, pre-determined form. When you think about the idea, consider the following:
- Give God praises. Lavish him with exaltation as long as your energy can produce it in a given setting. Do it sincerely and often.
- Give God gratitude. Give him thanks for his love toward you, for his sacrifice on the cross, for his continued blessings and protection, and for the hope of heaven.
- Give God your time. Give him your time, as much as you can spare, by reaching out to the world with his message of love and forgiveness. This act doesn’t not necessarily mean that you need to become a missionary. Simply visiting someone at the hospital, consistently praying for neighbors, friends, and family, or looking for opportunities where you can lend a hand in the community are just a few ways this can be done.
- Give God your money. When necessary, and specifically when you are led to do so, you can make financial contributions. If you’re attending a specific denomination, that’s a good place to start. Although tithing is not necessary, you can make a free-will offering as often as you’re able to do so.
- Give what you’re impressed to give and STOP!
- When you do, don’t dwell on the matter one way or another.
- NEVER borrow money against your home or on credit cards under any circumstance to give to your church or anyone else. If you must borrow to make the contribution, this means that you’re not in a position to give financially and borrowing the money will simply exacerbate your financial situation.
- NEVER dip into your financial reserve to give money to anyone. Doing so will defeat the purpose for which you’re saving.
- Once, you make your financial contribution, be content. God will neither bless you for giving more than you’re able nor curse you if you’re unable to give. He loves YOU…not your money.
Giving can be done in more than one place
Assuming you’re a Christian, you may be more inclined to make your financial contribution to your church, which I highly recommend. Your continued support will go a long way in advancing the message of the gospel and keeping the lights on in the building. But keep in mind that GIVING is the key. As long as your contribution goes to support a moral cause, the place and the amount make no difference.
For example, attending to the needs of the poor in this world is a matter that’s close to God’s heart. In this area of life, the needs are huge and endless, more than your resource can ever sustain. Starving children around the world, including the United States, disabled veterans of all types, and single parents that are barely making ends meet are just a few of the many places that your financial contribution can be directed. If you cannot give money, consider supporting these situations with your time. God will honor your efforts equally as much as your financial gift.
Most importantly, your giving must be done wisely. For instance, you shouldn’t give others your time and neglect spending precious moments with your own family; you shouldn’t give so much of your money to the point of becoming a financial casualty. God requires none of these behaviors from any of his followers, useless they are called for specific situations that bring about these conditions. Even then, he would provide the necessary grace to those who are undergoing these issues.
Whatever your do, your giving should not be associated with guilt or remorse. Instead, let it be an act of love, kindness, compassion, and gratitude.
What are your thoughts on the matter?
Have you been struggling with the issue of giving? Has this article made a difference your perspective? Should Christians make financial contributions to other worthy causes besides church?
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