I think too often, when it comes to the heart of God, we miss the point. We get all caught up in the “thou shalt not” and “thus saith the Sovereign Lord” and “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”. Now, those types of things are in the Bible (Proverbs 1:7 and a bunch of other places), and they are true and good. But if we take them alone and out of context, than we miss the heart of God, and everything gets all goofy.
We start tithing out of guilt. Until we read that we’re supposed to be a “cheerful” (2 Cor. 9:7) giver. Then we are double guilty. We feel guilty about not being cheerful, and guilty about not giving. After all, for those of us who have given our lives to the Saving Lordship of Jesus Christ, we have been purchased by the very lifeblood of God. That is expensive. Woofta. So we give back our 10% (or 8%, or 3%, or good intentions) – it is, after all, the least we can do to pay God back for His Son.
Except then we read Rom. 11:35, or Job 41:11, “Who has given to Me that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heaven is Mine.” and we realize that when we “give to God” we are not actually giving Him anything that He did not first give to us. Seriously people, we are paying God with His own money. It is all His anyway, and being God, He obviously does not need any of it. God could make it rain gold coins if He wanted to (Matt. 17:27), or whatever was needed to be accomplished monetarily God could just make happen with a word from His mouth as in Genesis chapter one.
So if this money thing is really just a closed loop system, what gives?
Have any of you ever seen parents of little kids in church? If you are like me, than you have either been that little kid, or maybe you have seen one, where the parent hands their child the money to put in the offering plate when it gets passed around. It is pretty exciting stuff for a small child.
Now why do parents do this? They could just as easily cut their child out of the loop and get things done. But that is kind of the point. It is about participation. A parent gives their little one the money to put in the offering plate, not because the money belongs to the child (how silly!), but because they are inviting their child to participate in the process. Are you getting the picture?
God the Father hands us money so we can put it into the offering plate. He is inviting us to participate. He does not need the money (how silly!), but He loves engaging with us! He loves it when we love Him! He loves it when we trust Him! The heart of God when it comes to money is not dollars and cents, it’s intimacy with Him – it is relationship.
God wants us to have faith, to love Him, and to trust Him to take care of us, more than we trust in our bank accounts and paychecks to take care of us. God wants us to see Him for who He really is, Good! In the Old Testament and the New Testament, God says that He actively wants us to trust Him, and believe that He is good and will reward us. He wants us to love Him more with what He gives, so He can trust us with more. Even with our money! – Malachi 3:10, Hebrews 11:6, Matthew 25:14-30
Do not get me wrong, I’m not saying you are guaranteed to get rich if you follow 5 easy steps. God is not a vending machine that spits out what you want if you just figure out the right combination of buttons to press. He is LORD. But He is also the lover of your soul – Psalm 103.
So if it is all about the relationship, and God does not want your money, what does He want?
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 22:36-40
God wants your heart.
This is why God loves a cheerful giver. It is about intimacy. Who among us enjoys receiving love and affection from our spouse, when we have to wrestle, nag, guilt and wring it out of their clenched hands?
Love God, Love People. The heart of God, it is Love.
~Scott Steinbarger, Christian Counselor at www.westmetrochristiancounseling.com