The Heart of Giving
A parable is told by Jesus in Luke 12 of a rich man whose land produced "plentifully" (Luke 12:16). The man had so much abundance he had no place to store his yield. Jesus told how the man said, "I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, 'Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry'" (Luke 12:18-19). Then Jesus revealed to the crowd the reality of our possessions. "But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?' So is the one who lays up treasures for himself and is not rich toward God" (Luke 12:20-21). This story ought to teach us a valuable lesson: our material blessings are given to us by God so that we can use them to bless others. Neil Lightfoot said, "In the height of his prosperity and self-satisfaction, God appeared to the rich man and required his life. How much did he leave? All that he had. How foolish that he spent all his life striving for the things he had to leave behind and neglecting the true values that he could have taken with him." Are we ever guilty of this? Do we strive for things we will have to leave behind?
Adrian Rogers said, "It's what you sow that multiplies, not what you keep in the barn." Certainly, we would say God has blessed us. Our "land" has indeed produced "plentifully". The question is, are we being rich toward God? C. S. Lewis noted, "I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare." I believe he is right. God gives so generously. I believe he wants our heart to be like that of the widow who gave those "two small copper coins, which make a penny" (Mark 12:42). Jesus said of her to his disciples, "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 12:43-44). That kind of giving comes from a heart of trust in who God is and what he can do. Let's take the blessings God has given to us and make sure we are sowing, trusting God to multiply, rather than storing up blessings in a barn.