Giving (Part I)

Just in case you find it somewhat painful to give or tithe part of your hard earned money, which it can seem others don’t have to work so hard to get, I thought I’d make tithing or giving the subject of this note.  Or maybe a couple since it is such a big subject.

As always, whatever God commands, requires or recommends is only for our own happiness. Not because He is thinking up things to show his authority or, horrible thought, to make life less pleasant for us.  The Bible’s recommendation to tithe is only a way to happiness, and, again as usual, in the New Testament we are NOT required to, as were the Old Testament people.  Not to show we are thankful we have jobs and are able to hold them; not in order to show that we are able to “handle” money and so God will give us more.  Not, God forbid, in order to get more so that TV hucksters speak of giving as an “investment” rather than a gift.  Not, as properly understood, in order to feel good, so that you give only if it’s appreciated, acknowledged, etc. Pleasure will follow whether the giving is recognized or thanked, and a person gets pleasure in the giving, but even that is not why we do it.

Basically, like any other Christian virtue or “good deed,” we do it because it’s part of our new nature; it’s like fish swimming or birds flying.  God gives (and nothing but; He really doesn’t get anything “back”) because that is His nature.  He can’t help it.  And when we become Christians, we have Christ’s nature.  So naturally, we get pleasure out of doing it just as God gets pleasure out of being God. Earthly parents get pleasure out of doing things for their kids, and kids show that they are mature by having that same satisfaction, source of pleasure, even before becoming parents and have kids of their own, by giving increasingly and “receiving” less.  At birth and thereafter for a long time, we all do nothing but “get”; “gimme” is our first word, and some people prove they’re infantile life-long by saying, “Gimme, gimme,” in not just money but fame, mates, clothes, etc.

So, these slogans dreamed up by money raisers like, “Give ’til it hurts,” or “Give ’til it doesn’t hurt,” are beside the point.  If it’s a matter of only doing “what comes naturally,” the answer, as always, is to have that nature, God’s nature, which makes giving become “second nature.”

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