Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:7
I am the baby. My spot in the station wagon was front seat, between mom and dad. Those were the days when seatbelts, in the models that had them, were usually shoved out of sight. In a family of seven, assigned seating in the car was just one practice that kept things on schedule.
Attention to finances was another practice that made family life easier. I don’t recall ever hearing a lecture on the act of giving but I saw it every Sunday. My mother wrote the offering check. Then, with all the kids settled in the car, she handed the check to my dad for his signature. Whether they tithed or gave as they determined in their heart, I don’t know. But I do know the act of giving was passed on to me.
Even as a young adult doubting God’s existence, I gave to the church. When my paycheck barely covered expenses, I still gave to the church. My giving was out of instinct rather than devotion but I gave. When I married, my husband adopted this practice without hesitation.
Mom told me recently that her offering check routine was not intended to teach us to give. It was just the best time in the schedule to write it. It was part of her routine to have Dad sign the checks so that he would be equally involved in the family finances.
With the hurriedness of life, online finances, and children rarely in the adult church service when offering is received, it’s a little more difficult to pass on the act of routine giving. I can instruct my children to give from their allowance but I wonder how their attitudes toward money and possessions are being shaped without me knowing it.
How do I respond to the material needs of neighbors and friends? How do I respond when my kid’s friends are in our house at mealtime? What do they hear in my conversations relating to money? These are questions that God has brought to mind for me. Maybe there are others for you.
What do others see in your practices and routines? Do you give only out obligation or are you a cheerful giver?