James C. Guy
      There was a preacher who did not believe in ghosts.  In order to make a joke out of him, he was offered a large sum of money if he would stay all night in an old “haunted house.”  He, of course, took the offer.
    The next morning, when asked what happened and how he was able to stay all night, he decided to make a joke out of them.  “I went in and sat down, and suddenly there were three ghost right in front of me.  I prayed and prayed, but when I looked up they were still there.  So, I decided to sing a couple of songs.  My scratchy old voice got their attention, but they still didn’t leave.  I decided to read the Bible to fight them with the “sword.”  But, that didn’t work either.  Finally, I picked up an old bucket and started to take up the collection and they disappeared instantly.”

Isn't it amazing how quickly some "disappear" when it's collection time.  The New Testament doesn't tell us how MUCH to give, but simply tells us to give according to what we have prospered or gained (I Corinthians 16:2).  We can learn in PRINCIPLE from the Old Testament where they were to give 10% and more. Most studies show that, as a whole, we give an average of MUCH less than that (generally less than 3% overall).
    But, God is less concerned with the amount of the gift (consider the widow's mite), or the percentage we give.  What God wants is our HEART of giving.  Jesus said, "It's more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35).  Paul says "let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Corinthians 9:7).  Giving should not be seen as a chore, but as an opportunity to share a little of what God has given us, and of what belongs to Him in the first place.  David illustrated this after all the great gifts that had been given by Israel for the building of the temple.  In I Chronicles 29:9-14, it says, "....they had offered willingly, because with a loyal heart they had offered willingly to the Lord....for all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours....Both riches and honor come from You, and You reign over all. But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly as this? For all things come from You, and of Your own we have given You.
    Don't be afraid of giving.  Give as God has propered you. But, you can't make God any richer.  It all belongs to God anyway, you are just giving "of His own."  What God REALLY wants you to give Him is your heart.

Copyright © 2002-James C. Guy – All rights reserved.
*Permission granted to reprint for church or ministry use in free material (i.e. church bulletins, classes, sermons, etc.)

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