Blessings · Faith

Giving With Gratefulness

Throwback Thursday – I wrote this in April of 2009. A little more than a year earlier, we had uprooted our lives to serve as support staff missionaries in the home office of a large international mission organization. 

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Did you know we’re supposed to be thanking God when we make our offerings to Him?  (I know, some of you are saying, Duh, everyone knows that and I just spent 30 seconds of my life clicking on this blog, and I won’t get that 30 seconds back.  Sorry.  I’ve told you all along that I’m a little slow on the uptake sometimes.)

I was reading Deuteronomy 26 the other day and noticed God’s instructions for the Israelites after they harvested their first crops in the Promised Land.  As they gave the priest the basketful of the firstfruits, they were supposed to recite the stories of God’s faithfulness to them.  They were supposed to give a brief history of how God had delivered their nation from Egypt and kept His promises.  Then they were supposed to bow down and rejoice in all the good things the Lord had given them ( Deut. 26:11).

God wanted the Israelites to give Him their best and to do it out of hearts full of thankfulness.  As they gave Him their offerings, they rejoiced and expressed their gratefulness to God.

You know what suddenly struck me as I read that?  The Israelites were not supposed to gather the best and first of their crops and take them to the Lord and stand expectantly to hear God thank them for their offering.

I know, you’re thinking, Of course the Israelites wouldn’t expect God to thank THEM.  They were giving in order to show thanks to God!

Yeah, I know that. I really do.  But I realized that I do often, at least on some level, expect God to be grateful to me for what I offer to Him.  Do you ever do that?

There are days when I count the cost, but not in a good way.  My mind goes down the list of all the things I have offered to God.  I gave up everything — my home, having friends nearby, the church I loved, going to the grocery store and seeing people I knew, belonging, money, our trampoline, our grill.  I gave it all up to come here — where I have to walk up three flights of stairs, where getting groceries from the car to the apartment is a pain, where I don’t have many friends, where getting preschoolers to and from the car is really hard, where I don’t have privacy, where everything seems harder.  

And some days my list goes on and on and on.  I remind God of all the things I sacrificed for Him.  And it’s as if I am expecting the God of Heaven to declare,“Thank you, Jennifer.  I am rejoicing in all the good things you have given up for me.”  

Just so you know, that is the wrong attitude!

I should be going down a mental list of all the things God has given to me, all the things He sacrificed for me.  And then I should declare, “Thank you, Father.  I am rejoicing in all the good things you have given me and my household.”

Because really, when you compare the list of what I’ve offered to Him and the list of what He offers me — well, my list is pretty shabby.

Do you ever give your time, your talents, your money to God and expect God to be grateful to you? Or maybe you let God totally interrupt your life and you find yourself sorta, kinda thinking, “God better appreciate this! I’m giving up a lot for him!”  Or maybe I’m the only one. In which case, I’ll be in the corner self-medicating with chocolate.

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