The little four-year-old looked me seriously in the eyes and said, “But what if I don’t want to give it away? What if I want to keep it?”
My Mission Friends class had collected new stuffed animals to give to a local sheriff’s chaplain to use in his ministry. It was the session in which the chaplain was to visit our class and we would give the bag of stuffed animals to him. I knew this would be a hard thing for preschoolers to do in giving away a precious toy that they had picked out themselves. This would be a first lesson in giving sacrificially. Giving something away that they would rather keep.
Taylor Field writes about sacrificial giving in Relentless1: “Sacrifice, by its very nature, means loss. No real long-term love can thrive without some relinquishment, something that is given up.” Giving sacrificially also involves giving something up for the sake of others.
In the Bible, Paul gives an example of sacrificial giving by some churches in Macedonia:
And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will.–2 Corinthians 8:1-5 NIV
From this passage, we find several principles about sacrificial giving:
- Sacrificial giving comes from within the heart. (Vs. 2 – “overflowing joy”) Giving comes from the joy within us.
- Sacrificial giving is not based on the amount in your bank account. (Vs. 2 – “their extreme poverty”) Even in their own scarcity, their gift is described as richly generous.
- Sacrificial giving involves going beyond. (Vs. 3 – “even beyond their ability”) From verse 4, we read that the churches were begging Paul to be able to give!
- Sacrificial giving has a sequence. (Vs. 5 – “they gave themselves first to the Lord”) When we offer ourselves first to the Lord, our sacrificial gifts become a grace to others.
During the month of March, seek to become relentless in giving sacrificially. Whether that is giving your time in teaching Mission Friends, using your skills to serve others, or giving to missions through the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. In giving sacrificially, may this be a grace that God has given to you.
Dear God, Before I give of my time in teaching preschoolers and before I give my offerings to missions, I give myself to You. Take what I give so that others may know of the grace You give. Amen.
Written by Joye Smith, preschool consultant
1Field, Taylor. Relentless: The Path to Holding On. Birmingham, AL: New Hope Publishers, 2020, p. 91.