By Ann Hutchison
For me it was an area of challenge in my heart for a good few years. There were so many areas of disagreement already, in relation to faith, that giving ‘our’ money to church was just beyond the realms of possibility. We both had jobs at that time but our money was fully shared psychologically so to force this thing on my husband … Should I?!
Whenever the topic of financial giving was raised at the pulpit, I would sink into my seat, disheartened … It was just another area where I felt I ‘couldn’t do any of the things Christians do’ because my husband wasn't by my side in it.
Occasionally I would sneak some dollar notes into the church money box … But then, was I doing that behind my husband's back, I wondered? Not every husband would feel that, but mine would. He cares about where the pennies go. I figured then, "I have to honor him here too."
Eventually, many of us work this issue out over time; but wisdom doesn’t always come quickly. Instead, it's a process. Anyway, here’s the process I went on:
I always knew God understood. In fact, I heard the Holy Spirit very clearly say to me once, “Ann, the first time you ever told me you needed me was the first time you tithed.” In other words, "I loved your contrite heart and that was more precious to me as any material thing you could give me."
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and contrite heart – These, O God, You will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17, NKJV)
So, I do personally believe that when it comes to giving it is very much a case of the spirit of the law rather than the letter. It's a principle where giving comes out of a grateful heart. It's a generosity to God, and he knows we want to.
Later, the Lord gave me a further word: “Ann, like the widow with the mite in the New Testament, I know exactly what the little you give has cost. Further, I will use and multiply that little.”
That story of the widow is in Luke 12:41-44. Indeed, we may have money in the bank, but as SUMites we often do have 'only a little to give', because of our circumstances. It almost becomes the currency of our hearts then: "What little I have, Lord, I give you."
What I concluded from all this was:
- I did need to give something.
- It wasn’t so much about the dollar amount, but giving something to church reflected my belief in the Gospel and my investment into it.
- It would cost courage and risk in terms of asking my husband. That was part of the package.
- I needed to honor my husband too and show him a spirit of unity towards our marriage.
So, I prepared myself to approach my husband. He was quite against the concept of 'church', so this was no easy task; difficult enough, in fact, that I procrastinated over it. Eventually, however, I came to him and explained: “I know how you feel, but this is important to me. Can we come up with an amount that we both feel ok with?”
He thought for a moment … And then nodded, "Ok.” And so we came up with a weekly amount.
Honestly, it was a little amount. Just like the widow’s mite. Far less than what I would want to give. But, the fact is, it cost me to get there; and so you could say it was a bigger gift, in a way, than if it had been easy. What's more, it was an act of compromise for my husband, and he did it to honor our marriage too. So, there we go: This tiny amount was the currency of the heart.
Speaking of the currency of the heart, I think these words of Psalm 69 are apt:
“I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving.
This also shall please the Lord better than an ox or bull, which has horns and hooves.
(Psalm 69:29-31, NKJV).
Our approach to giving will change as our SUM and our faith life changes. But now I'd love to hear from you: How do you handle the issue of financial giving as a SUMite?