I received an email today from a charitable organization asking me to make a contribution on Giving Tuesday. One email promised me chocolate if I gave $20 and one asked me to double my donation on Giving Tuesday. Giving Tuesday was started in 2012 by the 92nd Street YMCA and the United Nations Foundation as a response to the commercialization and consumerism in the post-Thanksgiving Season mainly as a means of counter-acting Black Friday and Cyber Monday. #Giving Tuesday has become a global effort to encourage people to begin to think about giving during the holiday season.
In 2 Corinthians 9:6-15, Paul talks says that those “who sow sparingly will also reap sparingly and those who sow bountifully, will also reap bountifully… for God loves a cheerful giver.” While I believe that Giving Tuesday is a wonderful movement reminding us how important it is to give, I think that we should also take time to think about why we are giving. It might be easy for us to read this passage from 2 Corinthians and to hear it is saying that those who give more here on earth, they will receive greater rewards from God in heaven. While that’s an interesting concept, it just isn’t true. What greater reward could there be than union with Christ; there is no greater reward than knowing Jesus as our friend, and that reward is a gift given for the asking.
If that’s true, what then is the reward for greater service here on earth? My mother always said if you don’t want to know the answer, don’t ask the question. Perhaps this is a question that we may rather not ask. The truth is that the more that someone gives, the more someone is willing to give, the more responsibility they will receive here on earth. Remember last week when we talked about the master who gave his slaves some of his wealth and went away. When he returned, he rewarded the two slaves who had doubled his money. Do you remember how he rewarded them? He rewarded them by giving them more responsibility. Those who use the gifts received from God well, “those who walk with the Spirit,” will be given more responsibility.
Have you ever gotten involved with an organization or a charity that you were really interested in thinking that it wouldn’t hurt you to give a little of your time. Then one day you realize that you are so involved with it that it seems to be taking almost all of your free time. That’s how it works. Let’s be real, that’s how church works. I think that how it works with God as well. Once we invite God into our lives, once we commit ourselves to following Jesus Christ, once we give an inch, it easily becomes a mile and we are sowing more and more. But the truth, once that begins to happen, it becomes so natural that we understand that is how it’s supposed to work. My daughter recently told a group of people that she has been “voluntold” as opposed to volunteered all her life. In fact, she says that she has been voluntold for so long that now it is way a life for her. She volunteers for many organizations in her community.
Over the next few days, many of us may take time to plan our Black Friday and Cyber Monday strategies, may I also suggest that we take time to plan our giving for Giving Tuesday. “Let us sow bountifully.” May you all have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving.