Giving is hard because it’s not about the money. Giving is easy because it’s not about the money. And sometimes, it is about the money.
Anyone who has matured in generosity will recognize the truth in each of these statements.
Giving is hard because our resistance to growing in giving is almost always about anything else but the money—“It’s mine; I earned it. I deserve it; they don’t. I need it; what if I don’t have enough?” Our resistance is about our addictions and idols, fears and false selves. We live in a capitalistic, consumeristic culture: our compulsion is, by definition, money and stuff. Pointing the finger at others only proves how stuck we really are.
We rarely see this resistance for what it is until we outgrow it. Until life forces the issue on us in some way, through some great love or great suffering. Resistance, failure, and wandering is part of the deal. But Christ is endlessly loving and forgiving, and the cross proves God does new beginnings, not dead ends.
Giving is easy because as we work through the resistance, failure, and wandering, we learn and grow so much. And on the other side, we discover such great joy and freedom in giving—no matter how the people we give to respond. It really is like a miracle. Our relationship with money completely changes, because we have changed. We begin to see money like Jesus sees it. Our cup overflows.
And sometimes, giving is about the money. The nature of our economy, the laws in our country, the real financial pressures and possibilities we and our families know means the money often matters. Sometimes suddenly. These setbacks can teach us flexibility even with our promises, self-compassion, and empathy with others.
Saint Paul Lutheran Church
715 South Third Street
Clinton, IA 52732
(at the foot of the south bridge)