I will confess: I am an extremely possessive person.
My clothes are my clothes. "Ah, Jayme? Are you wearing my hoodie? Um, could you go put that back?" My pencil is my pencil. "Has anyone seen my pencil?" My time is my time. "No Caleb, I can't [er, won't] play ball right now; I'm busy with other stuff." My money is my money.
And how do you suppose I feel when my possessiveness is challenged?
Convicted. Uncomfortably convicted.
Recently, we've been going through The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn, and it's one of those books that makes you kind of squirm - well, at least I do. I'm not saying I am a tight-fisted Scrooge, and I do enjoy contributing to ministries/families I am blessed by or know could use some help financially...but my giving sometimes comes with reluctance out of the possessiveness I described above.
Randy Alcorn presents "Treasure Principle Keys" throughout the book, and the one which has (so-far) really grabbed my attention is number one: "God owns everything; I'm His money manager."
It's not my money? It's not my possessions? It's not my time? It's...God's?
I have totally grasped this with the gifts God has given me: music, writing, art, designing, etc., and I absolutely acknowledge God as the Giver and Owner of those, and I love giving them away for His Glory. But when I start examining other areas of my giving life, I've discovered I am more of a stickler - pretty selfish to be blunt.
But God has gently been moving me, prodding me to really examine my giving, and not only through The Treasure Principle...
- Our conversations around the table, in the kitchen, or anywhere :) often have been directed toward this new topic over the past few weeks. So together, we are all learning about giving, and of course, family conversations always jump start my interest in a particular subject.
- In the Revive Our Hearts Summer 2011 Newsletter, Nancy Leigh DeMoss had written about the things her father taught her and lived. One of the paragraphs stood out to me in particular:
"Don't spend your life. Invest it. We don't own anything; God owns everything, and we are merely stewards. One day we'll stand before Him and give account for what we did with everything He entrusted to us. The question will be, Did we invest our lives and resources for self or for the glory of God?" ("10 Things I Learned From My Dad" by Nancy Leigh DeMoss)
- Yesterday morning after our concert/worship service at Moose Lake, MN, the pastor came forward and spoke a few words. He shared that during our concert, these acronymns for our family and band came to him (I saw him writing something down during the concert): Great Adventure Gospel Band (GAGB) = Give Away, Get Back Garms = Give Away, Receive More (but he didn't know what to do with the "s"!). It was so ironic, especially to me, that both focused on giving. [Hint, hint, wink, wink.]
- Then there was this article in my email inbox today from Lies Young Women Believe, with this line jumping out at me:
"Why on earth do I hang on to my money (make that His money) so tightly when God makes such grand promises about how He'll provide everything I need when I give cheerfully and generously to others?" (emphasis mine)
Sometimes I just have to smile when these sorts of nudgings happen and say, "Well, thank You, Lord. I guess I should wake-up and pay attention to what You're trying to teach me!" :)
I am supposedly "financially intelligent" (according to CashFlow, a money game of which I am "champion" in our family ;) ), but when it comes to spiritual intelligence in finances, I am still a "baby". God is always bringing light to things which need attention and work in my life, and I guess it's time to begin looking at my possessiveness and selfishness.
It's time to start letting loose, letting go, and learning to give. It is my goal to start investing in spiritual matters instead of wondering if I should invest in stock, instruments, cameras, etc.; to seek how God would like me to use His money (I'm just His steward and the tool) and consult Him before I use it.
I'm going to get back to tithing. And I am going to challenge myself to give not only financially, but in every area of my life.
How about you? Is God tugging at your heart, convicting you in some way? Consider this post another nudge.
Ready? Set? Give!