Friday, December 21, 2012

The Christmas Offering

I took a long nap this morning, from 10:30 till noon. I was convinced that this necessary nap wouldn't keep me awake tonight, but here I am, after midnight and I have found myself wanting to blog again. We are days away from Christmas, tomorrow being Christmas Eve in our house. (We're celebrating early.) I want to share a story, not to bring recognition or pride, but to share what God's been teaching me and how He's using my children to do that.

A week or so ago, Christmas cards arrived for my children, containing money for each of them. It was quite a lot of money for a seven, four and two year old to possess. As they sat at the table in awe and wonder of the $25 dollars in their hands, I casually mentioned the Christmas offering. My heart's desire was to gently remind them that with every blessing God gives us, we give back a tenth to Him as a way of saying thanks and expressing trust in His provision. But before I could get the kid-friendly words out, my Lucas quickly spoke up and said that he would be giving all of his money to the Christmas offering. Matt and I were very surprised at our historically stingy child, so we asked a few questions, trying to figure out his motivation for such a generous gift.

But his simple answer revealed a child like faith and desire to give to our church "so they can keep helping people." The next morning on our long ride to church, I asked him a couple more times if he really truly wanted to give all of his money, and every time, he emphatically said yes. Forty-five minutes later, Lucas gave his $25 without any attention or affirmation from anyone. It didn't seem like a big deal to him at all and in fact, he hasn't mentioned it since.

I have to wonder about myself and the size of my faith as I reflect on my child's generous gift. He wasn't worried about not having money in the future. He wasn't worried if God would replace the money he gave. He didn't need other people to see him give or know that he gave "a lot". He simply gave.

During that long car ride to church, we talked about the woman in the Bible who gave just a few coins but Jesus called out her faith. Lucas was very familiar with the story and even told it to his brother and sister. I can't help but think about how it wasn't about the size of the gift she gave, it was her complete and total trust in her heavenly Father.

In this season of shopping and more shopping, God has challenged me to be generous with the people I love and with people I don't even know. (Don't worry, sweet husband if you read this, He's also taught me to be a good steward of our money!) Through many difficult seasons of life, I've learned over the past 9 years of our marriage to trust God with our finances. But the issue God has been pressing on me is, do I trust Him enough to be generous? To give above and beyond the tithe.

This Christmas, we have been very purposefully teaching our children that "Santa" represents the spirit of giving because at Christmas we recognize that God gave us the best gift of all - His son Jesus - who would later give up His life for us. Our Father is so generous with us, He doesn't just give the minimum requirement!

I am so encouraged to see the faith our son demonstrated that day with his offering, and I believe that God will give me plenty of opportunities to do the same if I will simply trust Him enough to be generous.

No comments: