On Nov. 15, 2015 I had the privilege of hearing the Rev. Dr. Brent O. Johnston, senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church in downtown Wichita. It was the most invigorating and stimulating sermon on giving and yet it was not high pressure pleading for giving and committing. He simply told a story of his love and affection for his dear mother.
He told about purchasing an extravagant gift for her each year, buying her something that she would never buy for herself, but something she deeply appreciated and enjoyed. He used the following scripture for his reference “Now when Jesus was in Bethany, at the home of Simon the leper, a woman came to Him with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume, and she poured it on His head as He reclined at the table. But the disciples were indignant when they saw this, and said, “Why this waste?” Matt. 26:6-8.
His story reminded me of the love that I have for my dear mother who just recently went to heaven – getting to buy her first washer and dryer; getting to buy her a nice color television. I was able to send her a little bit of money each month and here’s the thing that is so neat about it – neither Dr. Johnston or me ever gave serious consideration to the cost because the gifts went to someone that we desperately love – our mothers.
Now you would find this hard to believe, but as much as I loved Mama, I love the Lord more. When I was a boy and working, I cashed my check and paid the tithe because if I got home, Mama would take it all and she was welcome to it because it was going to help pay bills, but I wanted to pay the tithe first. I am telling you all of this to simply say when you love, it’s very natural to give to the person you love. How much do you love the Lord? Are you uncomfortable when people talk about giving to Him? Do you get angry and think ”why should I give to God – I’ve had to work very hard to get it”. And the real answer is that you don’t have to give to God. In fact, if you are giving to God solely out of duty and not out of genuine love and affection, your giving might be in vain. This holiday season give because you want to. When I say give extravagantly, I mean give your best and know that He has done that very same thing for you. After you pay the tithe to your local church, please send an offering to Youth Horizons or some like-minded organization as we are giving our best by serving the least of these.