Are you a stingy hoarder? I know, this is a provocative question and I risk losing a portion of my reader audience beginning with that question. I extend my virtual hand to yours and ask that you walk with me for a bit. Lately, I’ve been thinking about my heart condition behind giving. I could have easily begun this entry by sharing specific examples of when I’ve given or attempting to draw a connection with my reader audience by describing a heartfelt story about giving, which might inspire you to also give, after all, ‘tis the season to give’. There really were tons of examples that flooded my mind. Instead, I want to welcome you into the closet of my own heart, to closely evaluate my thoughts on giving. By the end of this piece, maybe you will also examine your own hearts and join me on the journey of giving without expectation.
Questions I’ve asked myself: Do I give to get a pat on the back or recognition? Do I give to meet a need and when the need is met, I have my invisible hand of expectation out waiting for something in return? Then when nothing is returned, does silent resentment ensue? Do I give sacrificially and mercilessly, as God gave his one and only son? Could my giving even match what Christ did for me on the cross? Consider the poor widow in Mark 12:42 who, “came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny.” Then Jesus responded to his disciples, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on (Mark 12:43).”
If I consider my heart condition, what would be my response? If I am honest, I consider first, how it will impact my finances and circumstances. For example, will I have enough left over to meet my needs, after giving to a person or a cause?
Am I a hoarder or giver? And not hoarder, as in, I’m surrounded by junk and when you come to my home you’ll be walking into a cave of messy madness. No, not by any stretch of the imagination! But, I am referring to the true essence of hoarding as in holding tight to my stuff. Similar to the servant from Matthew 25:25, who had received one talent and instead of multiplying it, he hid it saying, “…so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground.” In response, his master called him a slothful servant!
Hoarding is primarily driven by fear, the fear of release, the fear of loss. Constantly considering, if I give freely, will there be a return on my investment? Driven by a “me” first mentality, hoarding is the polar opposite of giving. If I am honest, I think I’ve been more of a hoarder of my money, my gifts, my talents, wondering if I give too much, it won’t be returned, or worse if I share my talents, I could face total rejection.
Giving is not just about how much money we hand out. It’s a look at our total heart condition; about our willingness to sacrifice, hands wide open with no expectation of anything in return to that open hand. Giving is risky behavior right? By now, you might be thinking, this woman is definitely a stingy hoarder! While I’ve given in many ways over my lifetime, I’m now in a season of examining the condition of my heart behind my giving. Proverbs 20:27 says, “The lamp of the Lord searches the spirit of a man. It searches out his inmost being.” When the lamp of God shines on your heart, what will it truly reveal about your spirit of giving? Are you as the poor widow who gave all she had out of poverty or are you as the slothful servant, who had more to spare, yet buried his talents out fear? It’s time to examine our hearts because it’s not about how much or how often we give. Our Savior, laid it all bare, limbs outstretched, hands wide open, without any expectation in return from us. Are our hearts both ready and able to do the same?