Thursday, October 29, 2015

A Cheerful Giver.

I'm not a preacher or a teacher. I'm nobody in a position to tell you what you should or shouldn't do. So first, before you go any further, know this:

This is for me.

This is for me. For the me that was selfish, greedy and always worried about money. Always wondering how much my next check was going to be, when Cory was getting paid and what bills were due at what time.

This is for me.

Luke 16:10

"He that is faithful in that which is least, is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least, is unjust also in much."

I've been told and taught my whole life that when you get a gift of money, you give God his 10% and the rest is yours to do whatever you want with it.

But why? I never paired this scripture above with tithing and giving. Faithful in much. I don't know about you, but I want God to see my writing my measly check and think, "Wow. Cindi is faithful in much."

Proverbs 3:9 "Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase."

Writing out our tithes is an every week occurrence. I'm not gonna lie, it's easy to think of what else we could buy with that money. After all, I don't really know where it goes, who deposits it, or what gets done with the money I write out. (I'm sure I could ask and find out, but that's not really the point). Because it doesn't matter (to me) where it goes, or what's done with it. I've done my part by giving it, and someone else has to do their part by delegating what gets done with it.

But God doesn't want what's left of your paycheck. First fruits. Not leftovers.

In case you're starting to feel something other than happy feelings toward me, I shall repeat:

This is for me.

When I first starting feeling guilty about not paying tithes when the offering baskets came around, I talked to Cory.

I didn't say much. I just said something like "Do you think we should pay tithes?" And he said yes. Settled. 

Luke 21:1-4

"And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury (extreme poverty or destitution) hath cast in all the living that she had.

Rich or poor, we have what we have because God has allowed us to have it. With a thankful heart, I realize that I have a good job, Cory has a good job; we are blessed beyond measure. It's so crazy to think that $20 out of $200 would really make that much of a difference in our banking account. And it really doesn't. I like to think that that $20 is better spent with whatever the church decides to do with it than another meal at Chick-Fil-A! We all know I eat there too much anyway.

2 Corinthians 9:7

"Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver."

So, yes. Tithing and giving is for me. For me. Because remember, this is for me. But God loves a cheerful (noticeably happy and optimistic) giver (a person who gives something). I, personally, wouldn't feel good about writing out a check and thinking "Well, I guess this is something I have to do because I go to church here. Hope they're happy." I'd say you're better off just keeping your money with that attitude. 

Every time the offering basket comes around at church, I feel thankful that I have the money to give, thankful to have a job, relief that that money is now where it belongs, and overwhelmed that God doesn't want more, because honestly, ten percent doesn't seem like enough.

It's funny that since we started faithfully tithing and giving, I don't worry about money. I'm not saying I don't know when our bills are due, but I never worry that we aren't going to be able to make it without another check. I feel such a peace about finances, which is really a miracle. 

Thanks, God, for molding me into a cheerful giver.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Beauty for Ashes.

So of course I'm excited. Of course I'm counting down the days until I leave for, what I hope will be, one of the most life changing experiences of my life. I fully expect to be humbled in ways I've never imagined.  

For example, I got an email from our team leader a couple of days ago and it said this:

"We've been asked for a few specific donations, but I learned yesterday of a new ministry we are going to visit - it's a baby home run by a couple who are brought infants that are abandoned in the trash. They have about 30 babies right now and while our team has been asked to visit, love on the babies and encourage the couple running it I'm sure they could also use any of the typical items babies need from diapers and formula to bottles, creams, powders, soap, etc. We've also been asked for children's tylenol (both in liquid and tab form)."

Did you catch that? The in the trash part? I know things like this happen everywhere. I'm not oblivious to the children that are done wrong around us. I'm really not. But I can't imagine seeing a baby in the trash anywhere. Not in the US and not in Africa. Nowhere.

This kind of tragedy makes me think of Isaiah 61:3.. "to give unto them beauty for ashes." 

To be able to go and love on these babies, encourage the couple that has taken it upon themselves to do something to help out, even though they don't have everything they need at arm's length.. it makes me feel guilty. 

So of course I'm excited, still. I'm so ready to be hugging kids, taking pictures, praying I don't get malaria, challenging myself to be grateful for things I take for granted. I'm ready for that. But I'm afraid I won't be ready for all that I'll see. I know it's going to change the world I live in. I know I'm going to be more aware of the things I don't deserve. And I'm glad. I'm ready for my world to be rocked by kids who have no idea that they're going to take part in such a thing.

And so, if you have anything you'd like to donate, please get ahold of me and let me know. (870-615-1017// It's not all about money to these people. Sometimes it's just about bottles and diapers. 

**also, a gigantic THANK YOU to everyone who has sent in any amount of donation.  If you have $2, I'd never turn that down. 

Here's the donation link, in case you've been telling yourself that you'll "do it later." ;) 
I know you people.