A few years ago I read this excuse on a website: "Why is being unbusy never as good of an excuse as being busy?" The writer submitted that they are equally important. And I agree.
There's this very common misconception in the world, that unless you are very, very busy, your worth is very, very minimal. This is seen in the tendency to workaholicism, being success driven, children involved in every sport, lesson, or extracurricular activity possible, speed dating, etc. We want to look busy because busy looks good.
But the church suffers from this too! We fly it under the flag of The Kingdom is Coming, The Kingdom is Coming, Look Busy! but unless we're very intentional, the fruit is the same: ultimate exhaustion.
The Bible says that the Lord loves a cheerful giver and I challenge any one of us to sit down, look at a list of everything we do and search our hearts for cheerfulness attached to it. This is not to say that there will not be times in our lives that we must obey out of sheer submission to the Lord, but I mean deeply, deeply--is there cheerfulness in our giving? If there is anything other than cheerfulness behind our giving and busyness, we ought to stop.
We ought to stop because we are doing a disservice to the people we're serving by not being able to give them 100% of ourselves.
We ought to stop because we are doing a disservice to other people who might have opportunity to step in our shoes and do so more cheerfully.
We ought to stop because we are doing a disservice to ourselves by not finding any joy in our giving.
And, most of all, we are doing a disservice to the Lord because He's the one who loves our cheerfulness more than our duty.
The excuse that I hear for this tendency to out-give ourselves is that God requires us to give all, like the woman with two mites, giving everything she had to live on. I say you're right! You're absolutely right. We ought to give all, but we ought to primarily give all like Peter and John gave all "Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have give I thee..." and then they gave a miracle through Jesus Christ. This ought to be our primary gift: the gospel of Jesus Christ in practical and lifegiving ways. If the gospel is not the motivating factor and the joy behind your giving, stop giving.
God does require us to give, but even He sees the wrong of giving out of compulsion. In the Old Testament the offerings He required in the law were the same offerings he despised when His people weren't giving their hearts. (Isaiah 1)
That's what He wants. He wants our hearts.
If we're too busy to search and submit our hearts, we're too busy.
Tomorrow: How do you decide what to give and how much and when?