Let me ask you a personal question. What's your attitude about tithing or charitable giving? 2 Corinthians 9 tells us that God loves a cheerful giver. Why is this important? Can't he just be happy that we're giving regardless of our attitude? Actually, no.
I think too many Christians view tithing as just another duty to God. But God's intent is not to collect dues, it is to help us cultivate a spirit of generosity and grow our faith. This is something that I think we can all get behind. Nobody wants to be stingy. We would all like to think of ourselves as generous people, right? And who doesn't want to be MORE faithful?
April 15 is coming up and the IRS is busy collecting taxes. Can I admit something? I have NEVER written a check to the IRS with a smile on my face and a warm feeling in my heart! In fact, the emotional response is usually pretty negative. I hate paying taxes! Don't get me wrong--I understand the benefit of paying taxes. I know that we get many great services and our quality of life is better because of our taxes. But that doesn't change the fact that it still feels like highway robbery.
On the other hand, I've never written a tithe check in anger. Why? Because it feels good to support what God is doing around the world! In fact, I love getting that giving report from the church at the end of the year. Not because of pride, but because I'm always amazed that we were able to give away so much on so little! That report is a tangible reminder of God's faithfulness. When we bless God, he blesses us! The money goes a little further. The appliances last a little longer. Bargains occasionally land in our laps. God provides!
We don't suffer a lot of persecution in the U.S. and I believe a result of that is that our faith is untested and weak. However, I think one of the best ways you can test and grow your faith is to grow your generosity! Take the abundance that God has blessed you with, and turn it into an exercise in faith. Make a commitment to live with less, so God's Kingdom can do more. You'll never regret it. It may not be easy or comfortable, but you'll never regret it!
Proverbs 11:24-25 (ESV)
One gives freely, yet grows all the richer;
another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.
Whoever brings blessing will be enriched,
and one who waters will himself be watered.