I believe the best gifts are the ones that come from a place of joy.
For far too long, guilt has been the primary motivation for giving.
The message is that you’re not giving enough. Not donating enough. Not putting enough in the collection basket.
Giving can also come from a place of habitual obligation. Perhaps we’ve done it for so long that we don’t attach any sort of emotion to it.
Yet, what if we could connect the dots between giving and all the blessings that come from giving?
This week, I encountered a beautiful image for giving.
Paul, while addressing the Christians at Philippi, says that their gift is:
- A fragrant offering
- An acceptable sacrifice
- Pleasing to God
When I read that passage and let it sink deeply into my heart, it motivated me to want to share more fully in the grace of giving.
What if our greatest pleasures were in bringing pleasure to God?
Then I suspect we’d give more.
But then foolishly I think about the things I want. Foolishly, I hold on too tightly.
Jesus’ sacrifice is described by Paul as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God (Eph. 5:2).
Jesus didn’t consider equality with God something to be used for his own benefit (Phil. 2:6). In his act of being made low, through the sacrifice on the cross, God saw his crucifixion as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Paul then uses the same terminology to discuss giving – a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice.
When we give, we look like Christ. When we give, we act like Christ because we’re forsaking ourselves for the best interests of others.
But, it is not an activity without reward or pleasure.
Giving is pleasant because it’s pleasing to God. When God is pleased, our pleasure increases as well.
May God help us all see the joy, beauty, and pleasure of giving.