I will start off by stating that I am a firm believer in the Spirit of the Law and not the Letter of the law. Why do you ask? Well the scriptures are living. That means the same principles and message they carried thousands of years ago still apply today, however they need to be translated for modern use. For example, in Deuteronomy 22:29 (NIV) it states, "he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives." Could you imagine if Brock Turner, the 21 year old male who was found guilty of rape of an unconscious 22 year old female by a dumpster, was sentenced to marry this young lady and to pay her father. And how much is fifty shekels of silver? Some scholars say that fifty shekels of silver is about 200 days worth of wages. So you can see the difference in taking the Laws in the Bible literally and seeking the Spirit of the Law, and understanding what it means today. I, for one, do not know a bank that can convert the United States Dollar into a silver shilling.
What is a cheerful giver and what does it mean to me? Lets see what the scriptures say about giving. When I searched the word "give" in the King James Version of the Bible, it shows up 381 times in the Old Testament and 125 times in the New Testament. It is used 22 times alone in the Book of Genesis. It is amazing to me how much was given in the scriptures alone and yet it amazes me still on how much He freely gives today when all He asks of us in return is obedience.
Ten percent. This is commonly known as tithes and offering. Many folks picture a collection plate being passed around during Church services. I can remember when I was a child, my mother would pass each of us kids a dollar so that when the plate or bag came around, we got in the habit of giving what was given to us. My question is, what does 10% look like to you?
"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
The example provided to me growing up was my lovely mother. I was a foster child and I was lucky enough to have my older sister with me in the same foster home. When I think back to that dollar, I know my parents talked very little of money openly. I just know that my sister and I both placed a dollar in the bag as our mother placed an envelope with a check sealed inside. But the money was not the only offering she provided. My foster mother's service and love that she provided was worth more than the money she freely gave. And that is a debt I could never repay. How grateful I am of the example she set as a cheerful giver as she sacrificed her time and energy in caring for children in need.
I am a firm believer that everyone has their own ministry, some find it in service to others, others in organizational work and the list goes on and on. I have found that the most important thing for me is to stay prayerful as I look for opportunities to serve, either financially or physically. I must keep a relationship with the Holy Spirit and to be familiar with how he communicates to me. And I have learned that I should always present my offerings and tithes before Him in prayer before actually giving and I have always been granted the love, peace and overwhelming feeling of gratitude as I do so. There have been many times I have given and given, checked my bank account to see if I was able to give, prayed, and gave some more. And as I have on multiple times reviewed my statements later, ended up with more then then I started.
Sure there are many things asked of us, but nothing sums it up better than Ephesians 6. Let's make an effort to stay obedient, arm ourselves in the Armour of God, and diligently seek opportunities to serve as we offer ourselves as living sacrifices to the one true king. God bless you all, in Jesus name, Amen.
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