“whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” - 2 Corinthians 9:6
There is a really funny church skit about a couple paying their bills at the kitchen table when they open a letter from the church reminding them it is pledge time. They say things like, “Didn’t we just do that a couple months ago? It seems like Pledge Sunday comes every quarter!”
Then they read a line that says, “If you wish to tithe, put that amount here.” The husband asks, what is a tithe? After googling it on her phone the wife says, “It means ten percent.”
“Ten percent of what?” asks the husband.
“I’m sure they mean our income,” replies the wife.
So they figure and write down what that amount would be and stare incredulously at the piece of paper. “That’s crazy,” they say in harmony. Then the wife says, “But wait. What if we figure this like our taxes?” The husband has her explain. She says that even taxes allow you to put down deductions. “What might be some deductions we have?”
That got them started. They wrote down the tithe amount and started subtracting. They remembered the time they did outdoor work at the church and deducted the gasoline costs for equipment. Then there was the time they had the pastors’ family over to eat. And the mileage of driving to and from church each Sunday. And the cost of buying treats for Children's Sunday school. And on and on it goes with them getting increasingly excited. When they finish the husband says with uncontainable joy, “You’re not going to believe this! The church owes us fifty dollars!”
It’s really funny but it also points out an important distinction. If giving to the church feels like a tax, our joy in giving will get deducted. It becomes something we owe. However, if we look at giving as Paul encouraged, we see it more as something we sow. Giving is like planting seeds that produce fruit in time ahead. We invest in God’s work and trust that our gifts will transform into expressions of faith and hope in Jesus Christ.
Somewhere along the way, we should find it all rather funny. Paul said God loves a cheerful giver. The word cheerful is better translated to hilarious. God loves it when people get a kick out of giving. So get ready for Sunday, and find the humor in it!
See you then,