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Wife to Adam, mommy to Alexa & Adlee Grace, Christ follower, owner at NewSpring Church, lover of Clemson football, and all things monogrammed. Looking for ways to simplify, serve, and teach my girls what life is all about.

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

When is the minimum no longer enough?

Over the last several months I have been bombarded with several bits of truth that have really made me think.

Have you ever wondered why we ask questions like:

Is drinking a sin?
How far is too far?
How much money do I have to give?
Do I have to give?
Does God care if I miss church on Sunday?

I think all of these questions (and many others) show us that our focus is off. If we are focused on God and not ourselves wouldn't we already know the answers to these questions or do we really know the answers all along and ask because we want someone else to validate the lie we are trying to believe?

I think the answer is B, we know the answers. I have heard many people say that as Christians we should not be asking how close we can get to sin, but instead live our lives as if we are trying to get as far away from sin as possible. Do you think you are living this way? I know far too often I am not.

Today I was listening to a sermon online by Pastor Steven Furtick of Elevation Church which is located in Charlotte, NC. On occassion he has spoken at NewSpring and I am always challenged by his messages. If you've never heard of him or Elevation I would recommend checking him out, you will not be disapointed. Anyway, in his message today he was talking about giving and how people in America don't want to give for various reasons, but mainly they all boil down to greed.

I have recently begun to question my own giving...not should I give, but am I giving enough. Now, let me preface this next part by saying...I am not in anyway trying to brag, but instead to challenge all of you to really evaluate your giving. I am also very aware that everybody is not commanded to give in the same way, but we are all commanded to give. I would venture to say the majority of my blog readers know that God commands we give 10% of our income back to Him, but is that enough?

I will say all of us fall into 1 or 4 categories:
  1. Why does God need my money? If you fall into this category you don't give. You often ask this question probably because you are greedy and the simple answer is that He doesn't. God doesn't ask out of need, this is one of the ways we show Him that we love Him. It is also how we model His generosity. He has given us the best gift we could imagine and we should give back.
  2. He wants how much? If you fall into this category you probably throw a $20 more or less into the offering plate whenever you enjoyed the music...or because someone near you gave also and you don't want people to think you don't give. Again, God doesn't need your money, but if this is how we express our love to Him, what is that $20 saying about you?
  3. God can you use this? If you fall into this category you are like many who don't have much to give, but you give it anyway. God doesn't bless us based on the size of our gift, he blesses us based on our spirit of giving.
  4. God can I give more? If you fall into this category you give your 10% regularly, but to be perfectly honest it has become habit and while you are fulfilling your scriptural requirement, you barely notice the $$ is gone.

I fall into category number 4. God has blessed me tremendously over the past few years and I have been able to maintain my giving even during the tough times of being a single mom. Once again, I'm not bragging on myself, I'm bragging on God and what He has done in my life. I am truly thankful that I have been able to give the way I have, but I am starting to realize that what I am giving is no longer a sacrifice. Pastor Steven was challenging his listeners to give more, and he told them what he and his wife give. I was blown away. I think most people stop at 10% and never look back, but they haven't done that. He said they have increased their giving every year since they were married and they are running the numbers to see if they can increase another 2% next year. That would put them up to 32% of their income. WOW!

I think we all want to think that if we made more we would give more, but that really isn't true. If we made more we would find new things we "needed" and we would continue to give our 10% because that's what the bible says.

"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!' Matthew 25:21

When the things of this world fade away is God going say that to me? I don't know, but I really hope so. I can't speak for anyone but myself, but it is clear to me that my minimum has just been raised. When God raises the bar and we meet His challenge with faithfulness He only blesses us more. You can't outgive God!

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