This is not a post about money, starving orphans, homeless puppies or a theological debate on how much we should or shouldn’t tithe. There..…now that we have that cleared up you can read at ease. No, this is more about a revelation I recently had and a challenge to you to dig deep and think about your motives.
I have been making it a practice to donate unwanted stuff to our local rescue mission for several years. As I clean out closets in the Spring and Fall many a trash bag gets filled with clothing. And I occasionally take things that I no longer need. Once we bought our house and someone told me we could get a tax deduction for what we donated I made it practice to donate more and recently with my new-found freedom from “things” my donating has been in high gear.
So rewind to about a month ago….an announcement was made at church that we were getting a clothing collection bin. I’m sure you’ve seen them – metal bins sitting in random parking lots for people to drop off their unwanted clothing. With this donation box at our building the church will receive a certain dollar amount every so often based on the amount (pounds, I believe) of clothing donated. A great way for people to give two-fold; giving things to help those less fortunate while helping the church financially. Should be a no brainer, right? Wrong…..at least for me.
Total Honest…and Not Very Proud
When the announcement in church my first thought was “Wow, that is great….but I won’t be able to get the tax deduction if I put my clothing in that bin.” I thought nothing of this thought I had just had and planned on taking a “bag or two” of clothing to the donation box and keeping some for my regular trips to the Rescue Mission. Then, during my prayer time the Lord spoke to me and plain as day I heard him say “you are giving to get not giving to give” OUCH!!! That hit me like a ton of bricks. It was not proud moment for me. If I was honest with myself it was the truth. I wanted to give, I know giving helps others and our local Rescue Mission is a great organization but my true, deep down reason for giving was that I would get a bigger return on my taxes. So after I finished crying over how selfish and self-centered I had been I ask the Lord what he wanted me to do. Was I to continue to give as I had been, was I to stop giving until my motives were right? What was I supposed to do?
A Right Heart Toward Giving
“Each man should give what he has decided in his own heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7
After much prayer and thought I have decided that I must continue to give but I need to work on my heart. I now pray about things before I donate them asking the Lord what I am to do. Should I donate it outright to the mission without a tax receipt, ask friends if they need/want something it or save it and sell it. (I mention save and sell because there is a semi-annual consignment sale for children’s clothing and accessories that I have been taking things to for the baby. My plan is sell what he’s grown out of and use the money to buy him things he will grow into from at the sale.)
I have made it a priority to get my heart right before I make a decision about things I’m getting rid of. I have also started to pray over the things I am giving away that they may bless others as they have blessed me and that the right person receives them.
This has freed me tremendously. I feel good about giving but not in a prideful, arrogant way. I have found freedom in my giving that was not there before. I am not only freeing up my physical space but I am freeing up my emotional and spiritual space as well. Yes, the tax deductions are nice and I have felt released to take things for donation and get that receipt but it is not my motive to give anymore. I give because I am called to give, because the things I don’t need can bless someone else in ways that I may never know. I can’t physically meet and see these people but my things, blessed by prayer can show the love of Christ to someone. That is why I give.
So What’s Your Motive?
“Create in me a pure heart oh God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalms 51:10
Maybe you don’t give to get at tax deduction (maybe you didn’t even know you could get a tax deduction). Maybe you give out of obligation. The collection plate passes and you feel you MUST put something in or maybe you give so you can proudly boast about what you’ve given.
No matter what your motive ask yourself is it the right motive? Are you brave enough to ask yourself why you are giving? Are you bold enough to ask the Lord to show you your true motive?
Until Next Time