Have you ever written a check out to the IRS? Yes, it’s that time of year. I imagine most of us have had to write a check to the IRS. What do you put in the memo? Do you put a heart and a smiley face? Maybe you give the IRS a short “thank you.” Or maybe you write, “I hate paying taxes!”
It really doesn’t matter what you write in the memo. When they get your check, they simply check off that you paid your taxes. You could pay with all the protest you can muster or with great gratitude, it really makes no difference.
It’s different when giving to God. The Bible teaches us we should be a cheerful giver and we should never give reluctantly or under compulsion (2 Corinthians 9:7).
Giving to God isn’t compulsorily like taxes. We don’t have to give. God isn’t going to send you threatening letters, he won’t seize your bank account or have federal agents at your door if you don’t give.
God wants us to be generous. He wants us to want to give. God wants us to sacrifice. I often think of the story in Luke 21 about the widow that gave two “mites” (this was a small amount of money).
Jesus watched many people give to the temple that day and said of this widow she gave more than any other. He said others gave from their “abundance,” but she gave from her “poverty.” In other words, everyone else could afford to give, but what the widow gave was a sacrifice.
The Bible doesn’t mention this widow after this event. We don’t know if she saw Jesus watching or if someone told her Jesus used her in a lesson. However, I’m sure, when she met our Lord in glory, Jesus said something like: “I saw what you did and it thrilled me.”
I want to thrill Jesus with my giving. I’m sure there’s a lot of nice things I could buy with my money, but nothing that would compare to exciting Jesus.
Next time that offering plate is passed or you get a chance to give to an important cause, do it in a manner that gets Jesus’ attention.
Captain Mark Cyr is pastor of The Salvation Army, 661 Colorado St., Carson City, 89701. For information, go to carsoncity.salvationarmy.org.