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As We Purpose in Our Hearts

by Michael Erickson
A question that is sometime asked this time of year is “How much should I give for an offering?”  No specific amount in regard to Holy Day offerings is mentioned in the Bible. However, God’s Word does include guidelines and principles that can help us determine how much to give and how to give.

In Deuteronomy 16:16-17, we find that we are not to appear before God empty-handed, and that we are to give as we are able, according to the blessing of the LORD our God which He has given us. God knows how much He has blessed us!

We must remember that we cannot out-give God. We are to give as we are able. The blessing(s) we are to consider are not limited to just financial blessings. We must also consider the blessings of having a job, a happy family, good health and spiritual knowledge and understanding, which are difficult to put a monetary value on. But, to be true to scripture, we must consider them all when we determine the amount of our Holy Day offering.

It helps to consider this in light of other principles from God’s word. We read in 2 Corinthians 9:6-7, “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”

Many years ago I read an article in The Good News magazine by Leroy Neff. He pointed out that the Greek word for “cheerful” in the verse above is defined as: cheerful; joyous; prompt to do anything. He also noted that some lexicons even use as a synonym the word “hilarious.” This shows that God wants us to give joyously and happily, not grudgingly or just because we are required to.

The result of giving with this attitude and according to how God has blessed us is described in the following verse: “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: ‘He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.’ Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God” (2 Corinthians 9:8-11 NIV).

Our offerings truly are a question of right attitude or heart. Our attitude and heart plays a big part in giving an offering that He finds pleasing. This is shown in Luke 21:1-4, “And [Christ] looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. So He said, ‘Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.’”

The widow’s attitude was such that she wanted to give all that she did have. Christ used her as an example of generous giving in the eyes of God. Even though the rich gave much more, they did it out of their abundance. Christ was not rejecting the offerings of the rich, but by comparison, the widow gave much more. She truly showed where her heart was. Perhaps like nothing else our offerings reflect where our heart is and where we want our treasure to be. Matthew 6:21 tells us: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Our attitude in giving offerings is very important to God because it reveals where our heart is. Let us remember to purpose in our heart. For where our treasure is, there our heart will be also (Matthew 6:21). He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully (2 Corinthians 9:6). Tithing is required. But if we only carry out that which is required (our duty), then we are considered unprofitable servants.

It should be perfectly clear to all of us that we can rob God by not tithing or not tithing properly.  We can also rob Him by not giving any offering or by not properly considering the blessings He has given us and by not taking the time to “purpose in our heart.”  We can even rob God by not being a cheerful giver, which can occur if we don’t purpose and plan or we give beyond what we are able.
God expects of His family to give offerings that are purposed and planned, generous and cheerful. His annual Holy Days are an opportunity for us to express our gratitude for our calling and the blessings, both physical and spiritual, that God bestows upon us throughout the year.

Our offerings, whether given on the Holy Days or at other times during the year, give us the opportunity to express in physical terms where our heart is spiritually.
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