Saturday, March 21, 2009

Easy Giving?

I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing. (2 Samuel 24:24)

This verse was our focus in adult choir practice this week. And I haven't been able to shake it. I shared some thoughts about it with colleagues at work. On my commute, I've contemplated how these words relate to my life right now. And I've discovered something. I've been giving to God in ways that cost me little. I've been giving God the leftovers of my time and thoughts - and if nothing has been left, then He gets nothing.

I tell myself that I'm giving to Him. After all, I work in a Christian organization. I teach Sunday School - and give time to prepare for that in addition to the time I give teaching. I help with a children's choir and sing in adult choir. I ring in handbell choir. I give lots to Him.

But that's easy giving. I love working with children and would seek that opportunity even if I didn't teach at church. I enjoy singing/music but easily miss a practice if something interferes. And even when I'm working at those things, I easily fall into "default mode." Prepping for Sunday School or practicing in choir can become rote actions and not really service to God. It seems that my "gifts" to God are easy ones.

What would cost me more? Time in the morning to really pray and seek Him. To do that, would cost time sleeping or doing other morning stuff. More in-depth reading of the Bible and books to help my spiritual growth. Cost? TV time or leisure reading. My personal growth and relationship with Him has been getting whatever is left at the end of the day, if anything. It's time for costly giving.

As Christian leaders and children's teachers, we are giving to God - offering ourselves to Him as we serve. But that can be a trap. We can fall into easy giving and miss the true giving of our very selves that God asks (Romans 12:1). In giving ourselves to God, we grow in Him and can become even more effective teachers.

I am making a new commitment. I want to truly give an offering of myself - giving in ways that will cost me something. After all, if it doesn't cost, is it truly a gift?

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