The Struggle with Sacrifice

IMG_3267This coming weekend is my church’s “Consecration Sunday.”  Your church may call it something different, but it basically comes down to the one Sunday of the year when the church asks each person in the congregation to pledge what they will give to the church for the upcoming year.  This is all in an effort to budget the church’s salaries, facilities, programs and missions.

I would dare say that this particular Sunday (or whatever day it happens to be for your church) is the most uncomfortable service of the year for many people.

For one, the poor leaders – pun intended – of the church have to ASK people for money (I know everyone just loves to do this).  Secondly, each person in the congregation is asked to respond (not always an easy thing to do).

At this point, we have to realize that no matter what you think about churches asking for money or how they do it…if you are part of any congregation, you do respond to this call.  There are two answers here.

  1. Yes, here is what I pledge.
  2. No, I’ll keep my money.  Thanks, but no thanks.

There are arguments abounding about how much, to whom and why we should give our money.

However, the fact remains that it takes money to run a church and if you are a member of that church…well, it just makes sense that you would donate to the cause.

I’m not here to argue yes, no or maybe…but, I’d like to tell you how hard tithing is for me.

Tithing is a trust issue.  I don’t know how you guys are, but taking 10% out of the budget is not an easy task.  It’s downright difficult!!!  AND…it means that I just might not be able to eat out as much as I want, get my nails done or buy that stack of books I’d like to read.  WHAT?!?!?!

Giving is a sacrifice!  Shocker, I know.

The sad part is that I’m not like the poor widow in the following passage.  I’ll give you one guess who I am like!

And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” Mark 12:41-44

Okay…I’m definitely not giving all I have to live on.  Even with the whopping TEN PERCENT, I will still eat, be clothed, send my kids to extra-curricular activities and live in a wonderful home filled to the brim with a bunch of stuff.  Hmmmm….

Unfortunately, I get way too caught up in the following:

  • What if I don’t have enough to pay the bills at the end of the month?
  • What if I don’t agree with what the church does with the money?
  • What if there is a crook amongst us and they take my hard earned money and squander it?
  • What if I want to go out to eat and I can’t?
  • What if I write that check to the church and then my car dies?
  • What if, what if, what if?????

Hence, this is why I say this whole money giving/tithing thing is about TRUST.

We can “what if” ourselves to death with many things, but trusting God to provide for us and help us be content is more about our hearts than it is our checkbooks.

Remembering that the money, home, car, spouses, family, friends and so on that we have today are all gifts from God in the first place is the key.  God made us.  He made the stuff.  He will continue to provide.

Getting all worked up about the “what if’s” gets us nowhere good fast.  It’s the devil’s way of making us question whether God will really come through.  The answer is yes He will.  But, will we be obedient in the meantime?  GRRRR…..

I’m always left with a very selfish and sad feeling at the end of this service because I know in my heart that I struggle with trusting God enough to sacrifice for Him.

I want to be that cheerful giver, but I’m not.  I want to be that person who tithes and gives above and beyond, but I’m not.  I want to say I’d be joyful in poverty, but I can’t.  I want to enjoy God’s abundant blessings, but I won’t if I don’t change my heart.

Lots of work to do here, but nothing is impossible with God!!!

Some Wisdom for Today:  Proverbs 3:27 – Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.

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