I learned something tonight. Something very simple, and something that many people already practice, no doubt. But as always with me, the overall lesson was greater than the immediate lesson.
During the summer, the church we’re a part of has dinner together every Sunday night. Tonight we had StoneFire. During the service, an offering was taken to help cover the cost of the food. Cindi leaned over to me and asked, “Do you have any money?” I didn’t. But I should have. As it was, I wasn’t ready to give. I would have given, but I wasn’t able to, because I wasn’t prepared.
Giving is not just about good intentions (although that’s where it starts). It’s also about preparation and readiness and thinking ahead. I learned tonight that I should have cash or a checkbook at every church service. I should be just as prepared to give financially at church as I am to sing or to testify or to listen or to fellowship. It’s not enough to just take a pre-written check to the morning service. There may be a love offering, or a fellow believer in need, or a one-time collection for missions. I should be ready, not only with my heart but with my hands.
Sure, I can write a check for $15 to cover the StoneFire dinner and give it to the church the day after. But that’s not necessarily readiness. And ready is what I need to be. Many opportunities will arise in life where there won’t be another day. There will be no “better late than never.” It will be now or never.
There’s more, though. Mental and practical readiness is a holistic endeavor. My life is to consist of giving myself away in every way – financially, mentally, physically, materially, emotionally, and spiritually. I find myself wondering if my financial unreadiness at church tonight is a sign of other forms of unpreparedness in my life. I’m sure it is. I must miss a lot of God-given opportunities everyday because of my lazy mindset caused by indwelling sin. I want to know what those are, and to grow more alert in heart and in hand. This is a lifestyle, and it is part of being like Jesus. It’s hard work, but Jesus worked hard, too. He was always ready, and never not ready. I want to be like Him in this.