So a few years ago when I was a baby Christian I went to a Women’s Conference. It was an amazing event and I had the most awesome time with my girlfriends listening to phenomenal Women of God share their hearts. It was all going swimmingly until the last night when they announced they were taking up an offering!
WHAT? An offering? I didn’t know they were receiving an offering, I hadn’t bought any extra money with me! I started to sweat slightly and looked around me. All the women were rummaging through their bags looking for their offerings. What was I going to do? I didn’t want to look stingy? I wanted to be like everyone else, so I too, started rummaging through my bag (knowing full well I had no money in there) I opened up my wallet and pretended to take some money out and held the pretend money tightly in my hand. As the bucket came around, I put my pretend money in it and quickly passed it on.
Did I pull it off? Did anyone notice my hand was empty? Did I look like the good Christian doing what everyone else was doing? As all these thoughts were running through my head and that small line of sweat was dripping down my back, I was so consumed with what I looked like, I didn’t hear the big sigh coming from above!
So, roll on the next year’s conference, and I was almost mad as they announced the offering. I had paid good money to come to this conference and now they were wanting more of my money? If they were taking an offering then what on earth had my ticket money gone to? The ticket wasn’t cheap, surely they could use some of that money for the offering? I could feel the indignation rising within me. And so that year, I sat there with my arms crossed, not even pretending to rummage through my bag. I wasn’t going to be told to give more money when I had already paid to be there. As the bucket came past, I just sat there with my arms folded, not even passing it to the woman next to me. I was taking a stand (for what, I still have no idea!) and I wasn’t going to be sucked in. Again as the thoughts swirled through my mind, I was so consumed with anger that again, I failed to hear the huge sigh coming from above.
For some reason, the next year, I had a complete change of heart. That year I was prepared for the offering and as they announced it, I reached into my bag and pulled out a $50 note. I held it in my hand, pretending to cover it, but making sure everyone around me could see the purple 50 in the corner of the note. I was being so obvious, I may as well have stood on my seat, waved it in the air and yelled, “look at me, look at me, aren’t I awesome and generous?” I placed my $50 in the bucket, making sure it sat on the top so the women next to me would see it. As I sat there thinking how awesome I was, and what a generous Christian I had become, my pride was so loud that again, I couldn’t hear the loud sigh from above.
As I lay in bed that night, I was chatting with God and almost telling Him that He must be so proud of me, for my generosity, and it was only then that I heard His sigh. I was like “What? Didn’t you see how much I gave? Wasn’t that enough? God, how much of my money do you actually want?”
And as clear as day, I heard Him say “Honey, don’t you get it? I don’t want your money, I want your heart.”
Wow! As the tears streamed down my face, I realised what an egg I had been the last few years and as I lay there, I asked God for His forgiveness, which of course I received in an instant.
All He ever wanted was my heart.
He didn’t need my money.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21
Now, obviously I am not telling you this to brag, I have nothing to brag about, in fact, my behaviour was downright awful, but I am thankful that we are always on a journey with God and He is constantly changing our hearts.
As I moved on from my shameful experiences at women’s conferences, I have learnt a lot about myself, my heart, and Gods plans for me and my money (actually, it is all His anyway!). I no longer make a spectacle of myself when it comes to offerings. I have learnt that it is between me and God, and it actually doesn’t matter what the women next to me is thinking, as long as my heart is right with God, and I am listening to His promptings.
It is never about how much. God doesn’t care how much it is. He has been reminding me this week as I have been writing this, about the widows mite in Luke 21:1-4. She gave all she had, 2 coins, which Jesus said was far better than the hundreds of coins others gave.
It is all about listening to God. It is all about Honour (I will share more about this in another blog!) and it is all about the heart.
How is the condition of your heart?