While shopping at a store for home goods a few weeks ago, I was checking out at the front register with my little box of coupons out on the counter. [Since I have been at home with the kids, I thought it would be best to join the bandwagon of frugal consumers if it meant stretching my husband’s hard earned dollars.] After completing my transaction, I exited the store with my three children. Not even a minute later, I heard another shopper sprinting out of the store heading toward me. I would have been frightened had I not known the lady, but it turned out to be the mother of a friend I have known since high school. “Jenny! Do you have a coupon I could use too?” I didn’t want to tell her that I had an extra coupon I was keeping in case I had to return the following week for another purchase. But before I had enough time to think it through, I quickly replied, “I think I do!” So I searched through my purse until I found my coupon and gave it to her. I was glad I could help her save some extra dollars; however, I also felt a little tinge of disappointment for giving away my potential savings on a future purchase. By the time I reached the car though, I had already put it behind me.
I have three subscriptions for the Sunday paper all for the sake of couponing. Last Sunday, lo and behold, a coupon that matched the one I had given to my friend’s mom was in EACH newspaper – a total of three store coupons! As soon as I saw those coupons, I was reminded of the one I gave away and immediately felt convicted of being selfish and foolish. Forgive me, Lord!
Why did I allow disappointment to supersede God’s commandment to give to others? After all, I know what the Bible says about giving:
- Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to (Deuteronomy 15:10).
- Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return (Luke 6:38).
Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed (2 Corinthians 9:6-8).
This may sound like an insignificant and silly story, but the greater lesson to be learned is that giving is a fundamental part of being a Christian. My NKJV Nelson Study Bible has a section called In Depth: New Testament Giving. I’d like to conclude with the last two paragraphs of the article:
‘Why is giving important? In Paul’s words, it tests the sincerity of our love for God and others (2 Corinthians 8:7, 8). To paraphrase the words of Christ (Matthew 6:19-21), how we handle material wealth is a barometer of our spiritual health.
What will be the results of our giving? We should not give primarily to get, but Paul makes it clear that giving does lead to abundance. Cheerful givers experience God’s love in a special way (2 Corinthians 9:7). They enjoy the spiritual blessing of participating in a rich harvest of righteousness (2 Corinthians 9:10).’
I pray that the next time I have the opportunity to give, I’ll do so with a glad and ready heart. Because if I want to represent Jesus, I have to be like Jesus.
Blessings on you as you give as well!