“So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).
Early in the morning this past Valentines day I gave my youngest son a large chocolate bar along with a little card. David was visibly happy to receive the gift. Later that day when I returned home from work David presented me with a Valentine. It was a card and a portion of the same chocolate bar that I had given to him earlier that morning.
It gave me a deep sense of joy and satisfaction to receive the gift from him. In our world, giving a gift that you have yourself previously received is frowned on. We feel that it may indicate that the gift was not appreciated in the first place, or that it lacks a personal touch. But this is not the case in a father and child relationship. I knew for certain that David loved the gift that I had given to him. And he knew that the chocolate bar was something that I enjoy also. So David, out of his limited resources, gave back to me something that was dear to him as an expression of his love. It was a great gift.
This is how it is with the relationship between God and his children. In reality everything that we possess is given to us by God. After receiving my gift from David I think I can better understand how it must please God when we take the treasured things that he has given to us and return a portion of them back to him. Incidentally, I weighed the part of the chocolate bar that David had given back to me and found that it was just about one tenth of the original bar I had given to him.
Just as I did not need a portion of Davids chocolate bar, neither does God need our tithes and offerings. Jesus told the Israelites that God could raise up children of Abraham out of stones. I suppose God could also raise up financial resources and volunteer workers for his church whenever he pleases. God is not dependent on our gifts, but they are pleasing to him. Gods kingdom and church will prevail with or without our gifts but it must fill him with joy when we give back to him joyfully as an expression of love and thankfulness.