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Give Your Best, First

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.  Proverb 3:27

A 2015 study done by Money.com found that Americans donated around $358 billion dollars that previous year.  Of those donations, $115 billion went to religious related charities.  In addition, the study calculated that Americans devoted $173 billion in volunteer work.  Pretty impressive!  But here’s an even more interesting fact.  Americans weren’t in the top 10 list of being most likely to donate.  The top country? Myanmar.  A tiny land whose citizens frequently keep their country in the top spot with 81% of respondents saying they had made a donation in the past month.  The United States sits at 61%.  Still an impressive number, however.

On average, according to another survey, US Christians give just 2.5% of their income to their churches.  And while the message of the New Testament reminds us we aren’t under the old laws of tithing, the apostle Paul consistently tells us to give with a cheerful heart – not just to our churches but to those in need.

Too many times we look to see what is left over before we will uncurl our tight fists around our dollars.  But throughout scripture, God reminds us of two points. 1) To always give our best, first and 2) He owns everything already and we are just His stewards.  When we scrimp with our giving and with our time we are, in effect, holding on to what really isn’t ours.  We aren’t effectively managing the resources God has entrusted us to help His plan unfold.

Friend, while you should pray on how to best use your resources (money and time) for His Kingdom, you don’t need to pray night and day whether you should be more charitable to the people around you.  God has already given us those marching orders.  When we hear “He will provide” so often that means He is asking you to provide in His name to someone who needs to see a little bit of Jesus at work.

Gracious Father, you have provided for me in so many ways.  If I can only provide a few coins or hours of my time let it be so someone will know your name.  And if I can provide more help me to give fully with a cheerful and loving heart.  Amen 

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