Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7
Today I read two quotes that got my head spinning. Maybe they will spin your heart and mind as well. The first is from C. S. Lewis and it is about giving to charity.
I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc., is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditures excludes them.” quotes at http://www.brethren.org/stewardship/documents/stewardship-quotes.pdf
C. S. Lewis himself lived in a modest house in Oxford with his brother and gave half of his income away. He often had house guests and cared for others in sacrificial ways. He walked what he taught.
The second quote from Richard Rohr seems to affirm that such financial stewardship can be a way of dying so that one can be reborn in Christ.
Pain teaches a most counterintuitive thing—that we must go down before we even know what up is. In terms of the ego, most religions teach in some way that all of us must die before we die, and then we will not be afraid of dying. Suffering of some sort seems to be the only thing strong enough to destabilize our arrogance and our ignorance. I would define suffering very simply as whenever you are not in control. Richard Rohr Adapted from Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality, p. 25
Reflecting on both quotes, it made me wonder if giving can be seen as both a “painful” moment as one gives beyond one’s self (a kind of dying) as well as joyful experience where one experiences new life in Christ? Do I place too much emphasis on joyful giving when in reality Christian giving always has elements of sacrificial pain?
What do you think?
Lord Jesus, you gave your whole self for us. May we give back sacrificially to you.