This article is the first in a series I’m calling “The Joy of Giving.” A quick Google search will show that my title is not unique. Certainly, the Bible teaches “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35 ESV). Many people have found that giving to God and others brings much joy to their lives.
In this column, I plan to explore our personal theologies for giving and examine our relationship with money. Everyone has a story—what is yours? What has shaped your beliefs and practices? What is the health of your relationship with finances? Do you consider yourself a generous person? Have you found joy in giving?
As we consider what shapes our theology of money, let’s start at the beginning with a very important question: “What is your earliest memory of giving or receiving?”
The first thing that comes to my mind is my mother pressing a coin in my upturned palm as a little boy. I knew that this was a gift from both my mom and my dad, and that they didn’t have to do it. I somehow understood that it cost them something, but also had a hunch that there was more where that came from. Furthermore, I knew I wasn’t to keep this gift to myself! The reason they gave me money on Sunday morning was so that I, in turn, could give it back to God, the true Source, when the Sunday school offering was taken. They didn’t have to remind me each Sunday; as a child, giving to God and others simply made me happy. I was glad to receive so that I could give it all away.
I must admit that my relationship with money got a bit more complicated with the responsibilities of adulthood. Is it possible to recapture the simple joys of giving? Can one recapture simple faith, making the connection between gift and Giver? Can we participate in graced giving today? Yes! Many have found the joy of giving!
So, “What is your earliest memory of giving or receiving?” I’d love to read your responses and share some of them in the next eConnection.
Dean for Institutional Advancement