Posted by: mahlbrandt | March 12, 2009

Painful Offering

Honestly, I love to be generous, especially to strangers. It because I have been on the receiving end so many times and I have been so blessed by others. Jason and I often dream of the day we can hide $50 bills in coat pockets at Goodwill or leave a $100 tip at Waffle House and watch the waitress’ reaction from the car outside or give a paid-for car to a young couple as a free gift. “Someday when we have lots of money, we can give lots away…”

Wait a minute. Isn’t that a backwards way of thinking? Wait until I can “afford it” and then give? Wait until it doesn’t hurt so bad and then give? Wait until it doesn’t cost me anything and then give?

I think true generosity needs to hurt a little.

I definitely agree with taking care of one’s own household first. {1 Timothy 5:8} Dave Ramsey takes this to mean, with exception of tithing, wait until your household is out of debt and then generously give money away. I don’t want to wait that long. I don’t want to wait until I can afford to painlessly give.

If it doesn’t cost you anything, is it valuable to God? In the Old Testament, brought their “first fruits”, their best offering to sacrifice—their most valuable business assets. It had to sting a little. Why did Jesus value the 2 small coins of the widow’s offering so much higher than the huge offerings of the rich people? Because of the cost. She offered up everything she had—there is no more valuable gift, shy of giving up your life. {Mark 12:41-44}

God says that showing kindness to the poor is lending to God. {Proverbs 19:17} Seriously? Lending money to God?? I wonder what kind of interest God pays?

All that to say, please consider being generous—especially now. A lot of people are hurting financially. Even if you’re on a tight budget allot some money to give away. Take a little money out of your entertainment budget—it’s more fun than you would think! I call it “pocket money” because I always keep it in my pocket or as loose bills in my purse so I can quickly pull it out when I walk past or pull my car up beside a beggar. Please don’t think I’m saying this to edify myself. It’s a call to action. If you love to bless others with generosity or if you want to find out what is means to “lend to God” give it a try!


  1. Great post.

  2. God wants us to give sacrificially. But if we don’t have to sacrifice anything then it’s not sacrificial giving.

    Great blog!

  3. Very well expressed. I have to agree with everything that you have written.

    I wonder why it is so difficult to do?

    I can answer that only for myself. Charity is difficult because it has generally become institutionalized. Too many charities have managers and boards making large amounts of money, making a business out of charity. Too few spend most of their money on actual charitable works.

    There are exceptions. The Salvation Army and World Vision manage to put almost all of their money to good use. But it is so difficult to vet most charitable organizations.

    Maybe that’s an upside to this recession. We all have neighbors who need help, and local food banks and shelters that are helping people whom we can see on our own streets.

    At the very least, we can help our own. In a perfect world we could help everyone. But then, in a perfect world, nobody would need help.

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