Do you love paying taxes? I didn’t think so. Tax time is no fun for me either. I put it off as long as I can. I dread the tedious chore of filling out all the ever-changing forms. I dread not having had enough wages withheld and finding out that there will be no refund because I owe a lot more. I dread getting the official IRS letter informing me that my paperwork had mistakes and that I owe still more, plus interest, of course.
Does the passing of the basket in church remind you of tax time? Is it a “hafta” thing for you? Please don’t ever think of giving money to God as a “hafta.” It’s a “wanna.” St. Paul never got tired of proudly describing the inspirational attitude of the low-income congregation members in Macedonia: “Out of the most severe trial, their [the Macedonian Christians’] overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. . . . Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. . . . They gave themselves first to the Lord” (2 Corinthians 8:2-5).
When you let go of money in church, it’s not a tax. It’s not a charge; it’s not dues. It’s a solemn moment of worship in which you acknowledge God as the Owner, God as the Giver, and God as the object of your worship.
Jesus brings me joy. Giving to Jesus brings me joy.
Pastor Mark Jeske has been bringing the Word of God to viewers of Time of Grace since the program began airing in late 2001. A Milwaukee native, Pastor Jeske has served as the senior pastor at St. Marcus, a multicultural congregation on Milwaukee’s near north side since 1980. In addition, he is the author of six books and dozens of devotional booklets on various topics.
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