When I was young, I remember that I went to church because mom and dad took me there. We were there whenever the doors were open. It wasn’t a cognitive choice, something I was thrilled about. It was what our family did.
As I grew up, I went at my parents urging and because I began to discover benefits to it: My folks were happy with me. I had friends there. We did fun things and went on trips with the youth group. And I began to realize spiritual benefits to myself for going – learning more, growing deeper.
But I never really cared about the work that God was doing outside of me. The work that He was doing in the community and in the world. I was a self-absorbed Christian. Thrilled about what God was doing in my life, how he was working in my world.
That began to change when I began to change. In my college years I changed one habit; I made one part of my life come in line with Scripture and things began to turn. What did I do?
I started giving.
Giving? Yes, giving! More specifically, giving my money. Returning a portion of what I had been blessed with to God with regularity. I began to live and understand Matthew 6:33 - Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
As I began to give, it began to change my heart. I still cared about the personal benefits of worship and fellowship in church – and I still do. But I have a more complete perspective now – I care about the work of the ministry in other people’s lives. Now I really care about how God is working in the community, in our city, and around the world.
Why does this happen? Because where our treasure is, there the desires of our heart will be! Our hearts follow our investments. You begin to care more and think about that which you put money towards. If all your money is in one investment, you’ll find your heart and mind constantly set on that thing. If your money is in your house or your possessions, your heart will be there. If your money (or at least a portion of it) is in ministry and charitable endeavors, your heart will begin to turn towards those.
I would challenge you this way, if you find yourself apathetic about how God is moving and what he is doing outside of you and your little world: You may need to check you emotional pulse first, then you need to check and make sure that you are giving. I defy you to give intentionally and regularly for six months, at least 5-10% of your income, and tell me that your perspective doesn’t change.
Giving changes us. It’s just powerful like that.
How has giving changed you?