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Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Importance of Giving – Part 2

The first installment of this series addressed how most people consider their financial donations to church or charity as TRANSACTIONAL – similar to a purchase or exchange of goods.

However, in God’s eyes that type of giving is TRANSFORMATIONAL, since it works toward broadening our perspective of others and reducing our myopic focus on ourselves.

Here’s a first-hand example of a similar transformation I witnessed in my family.

A while back, shortly after the birth of your second daughter, my wife, our oldest daughter (Taylor) and I were out at dinner. I asked if anyone wanted some dessert and our precocious then-four-year old chimed in to the affirmative. She chose a particularly decadent, chocolate lava cake with a pocket of bubbly fudge inside and some crazy-good, cocoa-derived confection on top.

When the dessert arrived at the table, the server placed it in front of Taylor, who scooped out the first spoonful of yummy goodness and turned to me and said, “Would you like a bite daddy?”

I told her that was very sweet of her to offer the first bite to someone else, and that it was a sign of her becoming a very big girl. As an aside, it wasn’t that long before when her favorite phrase was “It’s mine, you can’t have any” – as is normal for most self-absorbed toddlers who think the world revolves around them. So back to the restaurant story…

I decided to honor Taylor’s gracious offer and reinforce such positive behavior by accepting the bite of gooey deliciousness – even though I didn’t necessarily want it or need to eat it (God knows my waistline at the time didn’t need it)!

Regardless, as soon as I ate the bite it struck me that this must be the exact same way that God sees our charitable giving and tithes (ten percent donations to a church).

The parallel is even more pointed, because I ended up paying for the entire dinner that Taylor offered me a part of. That seems to mirror the same way that God has “covered the check” for us, by equipping us with the individual skills, abilities, knowledge and drive to earn a living in this life.

At the same time, God certainly doesn’t need our meager offerings or ten percent of our salary from those earnings – what he wants is 100 percent of our hearts.

So when we’re willing to give to the benefit of others, I’m convinced it’s a step forward on the path of spiritual maturity – in much the same way, my daughter’s selfless offer of the first bite of her dessert demonstrates that she’s progressing in her own maturity toward adulthood.

The next installment in this series will look at the types of things we should be willing to give.


  1. Excellent example, and it clearly illustrates Tay's innocence/"genuineness" (and maturity) in that her offering was certainly not transactional for her; she clearly had nothing to "gain", other than the approving smile from a Daddy that loves her very much. And that.... is indeed transformational. :-)
    Well done.

  2. Bruce, as always, thanks for your insight and perspective. Your comments make this a much better and rewarding blog! I think the greatest gift we get from our kids is that they help us see spiritual truths as well as the errors we need to work on.

  3. Thought provoking..Whatever we have in life is what God gives--He pays and What we do in life is what He enjoys!!Superb ...keep writing brother

    Pastor Ashley Benjamin

  4. Ashley, thanks for the supportive and encouraging words - you made my day!