Deuteronomy 15:10 – 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. (NIV)
Proverbs 19:14 – A prudent wife is from the Lord. (NIV)
Shortly after we were married, my wife matter-of-factly announced that she intended to give 10% of her salary to the church. My first reaction was "Whoa, let's not be too hasty about this!" After all, we had just bought a house and had a lot of demands on our money — new furniture to buy, trips to all those interesting places to take, at least one new European semi-luxury car to buy, etc. Then a little voice inside me (much like those little angels in the cartoons that perch on the right shoulder and try to keep us from doing the wrong things when tempted) said "Yes, let us not be so hasty." Listening to that little voice, I realized just how badly I had been ordering my priorities. As we sat there eating dinner that evening, we were, by almost anybody's standards, well off. We had a nice home, two cars, and good incomes that allowed us anything we really we needed. More importantly, we had both been blessed with loving families that had (to use the old expression) raised us right and still cared about us. Most importantly, the Lord had blessed me with a wonderful wife, who had just then gently nudged me (as she continues to do to this day) back onto the path of righteousness. To want more, when we already had so much, and to refuse to share with others, would be truly a sin.
Since that day, our giving has increased steadily and we find that we have not wanted. Indeed, over time, many of those things that I thought would be so important to our happiness — the fancy furniture, cars, etc., have been revealed to be irrelevant to true happiness. More importantly though, the Lord has continued to bless us abundantly with the things that really count: a loving family, a beautiful child who grows stronger in faith in each year, good friends and neighbours, and opportunities to serve the Lord through the church, Scouts, and in other ways. Truly the Lord prospers those who give.
Prayer: Gracious Lord, teach us to listen to the voices through which your Spirit speaks to us. Let us learn to value what is truly important and to give generously, knowing that you will bless us many times over. Amen.