2 Corinthians 9:7 "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver"
This Christmas season started out a little different for me and my family as my husband had a job transition and was forced to leave his company after 8 years of employment there. He left and planned to work on his design reel during the time when many are starting their shopping. We have been on a tighter budget. We have been working on living life a little on the 'lighter' side and being wise with money. Not going out to eat as much, counting our pennies and being careful. For the past 3 Christmas seasons I have tried a new tradition for our family. We collect a jar full of change and dollar bills until the jar is packed full and then I tell my sons that we will bring this in the car with us and wait to gift it to someone God places on our hearts. This person to receive this jar of change can be anyone, there are no set rules so to speak. A homeless person on the side of the road begging, or a friend we know needs a little help for the holidays and so on. We always enjoy the spiritual uplifting this type of giving rewards us. This year my sons (now ages 17 and 21) and I had a very packed full jar and heavy might I add. I decided since they are older I would split the money in half in large ziplock baggies. I handed each one to them and said it is up to them to do what they want and how God leads them with the money. So my sons venture out to do some "Christmas shopping" (and I am assuming it was for their lovely parents:). They came back a few hours later and knowing that they also had the Jar Of Change in individual baggies before they left, I asked them if they found a person that God had placed on their heart and conscience to gift it to. They both with utter confidence said "yes..", and then proceeded to hand me and their dad the cash from Coin Star. It was over $70.00 dollars. I was touched by this in more ways than one. I was just so taken back that these wonderful young men of ours would think in this way that I learned so much that day about God from them.
What I learned this day is that God really truly looks at the heart not the action. In my mind it would have seemed so much more rewarding on the 'human' side of it all for personal reward to give it to a down-on-their-luck homeless man sitting on the street begging, or a woman at the grocery store that doesn't have enough to pay the store clerk and to gift it to her. But they chose the reward that God sees. They chose to go with listening to the Holy Spirit and doing what he said. Was I in that much need of $70 bucks...no. That is not the point. I learned this day that God truly cares only about our motives. In 1 Samuel 16:7 "But the Lord said to Samuel, Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."