She said, "May your servant find favor in your eyes." Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast. 1 Samuel 1:18
Hannah's gift to God was the epitome of giving 'til it hurts. She gave Him her son. The special son she had longed for. That was perhaps the greatest sacrifice she could make. It had to be so very painful for her, and yet, she gave God her son with joy.
You and I should look at her example and learn from it. We need to learn to give with Hannah's spirit. We need to learn to sacrifice, and to be joyful when we make that sacrifice. Most of us give our tithes and offerings to the church. And we help out here and there with a special project or two. But how many of us truly give sacrificially? How many of us feel joyful as we give? So many of us feel that if we write a check to the church and help out with a special project or two, we've done enough. But was that check a real sacrifice? Did you give as much time and attention to those special projects as you would have if you were being paid for working on them? Was your heart filled with joy when you gave?
Hannah's gift of her son was just a small illustration of the ultimate example of sacrificial giving that God gave to us. He gave us His one and only Son to die on the cross for our sins. And when He gave His Son, His heart was filled with joy in anticipation of the end result of His sacrifice ¡V the knowledge that you and I and all others who believe would be with Him for eternity. God gave us His very best. We should do no less for Him. We are to give our "firstfruits" to God. Since we don't carry grain or lambs or the like to the church these days, firstfruits means that the very first check we write out of our paycheck should be our ¡§God money¡¨. Firstfruits ¡V the amount we feel convicted is what we should be giving back to God. Although we are no longer under the Law of the Tithe, the blessings associated with tithing still remain. As such, many people find that ten percent ¡V the amount designated in the Bible for the tithe ¡V is a good guideline to use for their giving. And as I mentioned earlier, we don¡¦t tithe with grain or lambs or the like as the Hebrews did, so our money is generally what¡¦s used for our primary giving. Some feel that the entire tithe should go to his or her home church. If that¡¦s the person¡¦s conviction, that¡¦s where it should go. Others feel that they should pray about where to give each month, and let the Holy Spirit guide the direction of their giving, and that¡¦s fine for them, too. When it comes to you and me, God isn¡¦t concerned about where our money ends up¡K. No, He¡¦s concerned with what¡¦s in our hearts when we give.
That means that the important thing is not how much money is given, or where the money is given, or whether our giving is through other means than money. The important issue is the spirit of our giving, and whether it is sacrificial giving, or just a token response. No matter whether we give a straight ten percent of our gross paycheck to the church, or whether we give seven percent ¡V or seventy percent ¡V to various ministries and people in need ¡V the motivation for our giving is what¡¦s important, followed by whether it¡¦s truly a sacrifice or not. We are not ¡§paying¡¨ our tithe, like it was a bill. We are not compelled to give because of the Law, because as adopted children of the Father, we are no longer controlled by the Law. Instead, we are living under His Grace, and emulating Him in all that we do out of gratitude for what Jesus did for us. So, rather than being compelled by Law or being forced to pay a debt, we are joyfully giving our firstfruits to the service of the Lord, for His work in His Kingdom.
And our giving to the Lord should not just be money. Firstfruits also means that the best of our abilities, the best of our talents, the best of our energies should be the ones we devote to the Lord. Not our "spare time". Not "when we get around to it". If that doesn't set well, remember... everything belongs to God, including your paycheck, and your energy, and your time, and your very life. He's just allowing you to use them for a while. Your sacrificial giving... your joyful giving of your first and your best to Him... that's how you show Him how much you love Him... truly love Him.
The bottom line is, if your giving doesn't hurt at least a little, then you need to examine yourself to see whether it's really a sacrifice. If you¡¦re not filled with joy each time you give to the Lord, then you need to check your motivation for giving. It¡¦s just that simple. Think about it.
From Newsong Ministries