As a mommy I get this. Sometimes Eli says my name, and I immediately turn my attention his way. Other times, I'm distracted by my circumstance, my chores, the noise around me. It's then that he starts to yell or scurry around to get my attention. I'm easily distracted, and truth be know, I bet you are too.
I would venture to say that work, motherhood, daily routines, DVR'd programs and a thousand other responsibilities have you distracted. If you're like me, I bet you pray, read the word and maybe even meditate on it, but sometimes it takes God repeatedly exposing a truth to you before your heart truly listens.
Such is the case with me. If you recall my goals for 2012, you know that Stewardship has been on my heart. I thought this would mean learning to better balance by time and my checkbook. I thought I would read a few books on financial planning...and ta da...I'm a money wiz. That was my goal anyway. It wasn't God's.
Over the coarse of the past few weeks I have been using my quiet time to read through articles and Biblical advice about money. From the start, Crown Ministries made it clear that we should see EVERYTHING as God's...not just our tithe. Then I started reading the story of Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy who are the real life couple behind the Blind Side. I thought the book would be about their journey to becoming NFL Parents. Not Quite. They talk openly about GIVING freely and cheerfully.
Naturally the combination of these two worlds colliding (my spiritual and secular reads) started the the wheels churning in my head. Actually, I think a more accurate explanation would be that the Holy Spirit began soften my heart to the command of giving. I was inspired, convicted and eager to give all at once.
You know what happened next, right? I adopted a 6'6", 350 lb football player from the inner-city of Memphis!! Not quite. Actually, I got up and went to church yesterday morning. It was there that I heard a sermon on... Giving...gasp!! Yeah, I see a theme here too.
Ya'll the truth is, I'm not a generous person. I share well, but that's more for convenience. I mean I was one of three kids growing up, I had to share a dorm in college and now a bathroom with my husband. Sharing and giving are two completely different things.
My husband on the other hand is giving. If someone needs money, he gives it. It someone needs a favor, he grants it. No matter what it is, Eric is willing to give of himself, his time and his resources. Before we got married his parents told me that he had a heart for the poor. One time when he was in elementary school a classmate didn't have a costume to wear for the their Halloween Party, so Eric came home and made the other child a mask using a paper plate and yarn. Even then, he couldn't stand the thought of someone going without.
To be candid I'm not really that way. I want to know WHY someone needs money and what they intend on doing with it. I want to WHY you need a favor and how long it will take. I'm short on funds and time...thus, I must be "wise" with my resources. Wait, do I mean stingy?
If I'm being honest, this whole idea of giving has been accumulating for a while now. Before I married Eric, I was never once approached for money. Not once. I'd venture to say that in the past three and half years I have been hit up for money from strangers at least 10 times. You know what, Eric always gives. He never asks questions, and if his wallet is empty, he grieves over not being able to help. I tease his saying "well just give them the credit card." Not so funny. He tells me that it's not his place to turn down a Child of God in need.
By the grace of our Father, Eric's heart for the poor has changed mine. While I have still never given just money, I have on occasion taken a meal the homeless man on the street or bought groceries for the lady in front of me who had to return some stuff to the cart for lack of funds. I've even been known to give friends a ride to and from the car repair shop without complaining, but that's about it. Sad...isn't it?
I do tithe. Again this more from fear of being struck my a lightening bolt than it is from wanting to give back to the Lord. I hate the sound the preferated edge makes as I rip the check out of the book and put it in the offering plate. Again...I'm being real. What's even worse, I feel proud that I tithe. I will hear a sermon on giving and I mentally check that off my list. I'm in the less than 4 percent of Christians who obey this command, mental high-fives to self....can you say "inward pride?"
By the Grace of God, my heart has been softened over the course of the past few weeks. I not only want to give, I want to do it freely and abundantly. I cheerfully wrote the tithe check yesterday, and I can not wait to give a friend of mine some clothes I was going to consign. I want to give of my time, my talent, and my resources. As my pastor said, I want to "live within my means, and give beyond my means."
It's amazing how what was supposed to be a "tight month" has ended in surplus for Eric and I despite the giving we've been able to do. The Lord is amazing in his provision when we are willing give. This has been a spiritual awakening unlike any I have ever experienced, and I look forward to learning more about and practicing the gift of giving!!