“Let everyone give as his heart tells him, neither grudgingly nor under compulsion, for God loves the man who gives cheerfully.” 2 Corinthians 9:7, (Phillips)
It was a bitterly cold Christmas Eve when Dave and I and our daughter, Kelley slipped into the back of a church in Wales because we needed the comfort of familiar carols and a candlelight service. Six months earlier Kelley’s brother, our 16-year-old son Eric had died from a toxic reaction to the chemotherapy drugs he was taking for bone cancer and the three of us had lived in a fog of grief ever since.
Kelley was spending her junior year at the University of Exeter in Southern England and rather than bring her home for the holidays we had flown to London, picked her up there and together driven to Wales. We planned to spend Christmas day climbing Mt. Snowdon as that was an activity the four of us enjoyed together, but the weather wasn’t cooperating with our schedule and that was adding to our stress.
Despite the fact we could neither read the church program or the words in the hymnbook, the music was the same and we were able to sing along in our own language. As we did so and the spirit of the evening seeped into our souls, a feeling of profound gratitude washed over me. Gratitude that God understood my pain because he too had lost a Son, and gratitude that one day I would be reunited with my child because of his Son’s sacrifice.
When the offering was taken, I wanted to turn my wallet upside down and give every last cent in there to God. I didn’t know how much was in it, nor did I care. What was important to me was that I give it all. I wanted to, but I didn’t. Why? Because I was self-conscious and concerned, I would be judged as an ugly American who was just showing off.
Over the years since then giving of both our time and financial resources has grown in importance for all three of us. I’ve never regretted a single gift that I’ve given, but I have never stopped regretting the gift that I didn’t give on that Christmas Eve so long ago.
Have you ever not given what you wanted to because of what someone might think about you?
Blessings on your efforts to give as your heart tells you – anytime, anywhere,