2 Corinthians 9:6-11
Do not forget: thin sowing means thin reaping; the more you sow, the more you reap. Each one should give what he has decided in his own mind, not grudgingly or because he is made to, for God loves a cheerful giver. And there is no limit to the blessings which God can send you - he will make sure that you will always have all you need for yourselves in every possible circumstance, and still have something to spare for all sorts of good works. As scripture says: He was free in almsgiving, and gave to the poor: his good deeds will never be forgotten.
The one who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will provide you with all the seed you want and make the harvest of your good deeds a larger one, and, made richer in every way, you will be able to do all the generous things which, through us, are the cause of thanksgiving to God.
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
Jesus said to his disciples: “Be careful not to parade your good deeds before men to attract their notice; by doing this you will lose all reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give alms, do not have it trumpeted before you; that is what the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win men’s admiration. I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you give alms, your left hand must not know what your right is doing; your almsgiving must be secret, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.
“And when you pray, do not imitate the hypocrites: they love to say their prayers standing up in the synagogues and at the street corners for people to see them. I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you pray, go to your private room and, when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in that secret place, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.
“When you fast do not put on a gloomy look as the hypocrites do: they pull long faces to let men know they are fasting. I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that no one will know you are fasting except your Father who sees all that is done in secret and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.”
Sometimes when we give alms, we set our mind to give away a certain amount. But when the collection bag comes around, we reach into our pockets and pull out that amount, and suddenly it looks like a very big amount. “They can do with something less,” we think, and we give a fraction of the amount, keeping the rest for ourselves. Either that, or parting with the full amount we decided earlier becomes a very painful decision.
At other times, we have set aside a certain amount to give as alms for each month. But on months when our expenditure is high, it is very tempting to reduce the amount of alms we give to offset our expenditure. A friend of mine realizes this, which is why the day she receives her paycheck, she gives the alms she needs to give for the month, so as to reduce temptation of keeping it to herself later on.
Some of us are very particular about where our alms go. We want to make sure that it is spent properly. But we have to realize that the moment the money leaves our hands, it is no longer ours. We can decide whether or not money is well-spent only if it is ours. But if it has already left our hands, it is no longer ours. We cannot exert any more control over money which is not ours. We can only decide how and where to give alms in future.
For the most part, however, we are not able to decide where our money is spent. That money has already been given to the Lord and those to whom he has placed in charge of the spending of that money. We trust that the Lord makes good decisions and the people under him make good decisions. If we continue to exert influence over how the money we have given is spent, then we have to ask whether or not we have really given the money away, or do we still think it belongs to us?
Dear Lord, help us to spend money wisely to build up your kingdom, knowing well that if we are trustworthy in small things, we can be trustworthy in larger things. Amen.
Give Thanks to the Lord: That we have money to give away.
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