Marlene dropped her envelope in the offering plate. Then sighed, crossed her arms, and pouted. Why did she have to give? Seemed like everyone around her just let the plate pass.

Didn’t they know it’s a requirement of every Christian?

She thought of all the things she could buy with the cheque she wrote. Maybe next week she won’t give any and buy that new coat she’d been eyeing for weeks.

God won’t care. She could always use another coat. After all, it’s winter.

Besides, why should she give when others don’t?

Marlene heard a noise in the pew across from her. She noticed an elderly woman with arthritic fingers struggling to open her wallet. The woman wore a tattered coat and hat. Her boots were scuffed and falling apart. Finally, she reached in and grabbed some coins. They clattered as they hit the side of the plate. She caught Marlene’s stare and smiled, revealing missing teeth.

Immediately, the passage of the poor widow leapt into Marlene’s mind. She averted her gaze and hung her head.

I’m sorry Lord. Thank you for the reminder.

Have you ever dropped your money into the plate begrudging it as it fell in? Have you thought of other things you could buy like Marlene? Or bills you need to pay?

Face it—we all have from time to time.

I know there’s a controversy over how much of our pay we should give. Is it 10%? And it is after gross or net pay?

Does it really matter if you don’t give it with a cheerful heart? I don’t think so. You could give 50% of your pay, but God wouldn’t be pleased if you did it resentfully.

And giving doesn’t only mean monetary. He also wants us to give of our time.

Cheerfully.

When was the last time you wrote an encouraging note to someone? Or, helped with the children’s program at your church?

We don’t do it enough. I know what you’re thinking because I am too! There’s too much to do, but taking time to call someone or write a note really doesn’t take long.

What would happen if we gave with a cheerful heart—money or time? Not only would God be pleased, others would be blessed.

Let’s remember that the next time we drop our offering in the plate.

Deuteronomy 15:10 (NIV)

“Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.”

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