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    by Susan McGrath

"Laughing All the Way"
Date Posted: April 24, 2004

My two-year-old has discovered money. He likes to get change from his grandpas and carry it around the house. When he brings his offering to Sunday school, they have a bank shaped like a church building where they put their money. Sometimes he likes to remove the "roof" and take the money back out, not because he has changed his mind, but because he enjoys putting it back in.

For him and for others in his class, giving their money to Jesus is fun!

The phrase, "laughing all the way to the bank" is probably familiar to most of us, but do we have the same attitude when we bank on the Lord? When we return to Him only a portion of what he has blessed us with, knowing we will be blessed in some way by our faith, do we laugh all the way to the offering plate?

Giving should make us feel good, but that's not why we should be giving to God. Nor should it be as a down payment on future riches or "favors" we hope God will see fit to grant us. He doesn't work that way. He doesn't need to, because we don't have anything he needs.

When we give, it needs to be from joyful hearts, full of love for God and others. With the purpose and prayer that our money will help others know Him more.

It also requires trust -- trust that God will provide for us and bless us, whether monetarily, spiritually or in some way we can't imagine. When we give with complete love and trust, the blessings for us and those who benefit from our giving will be bountiful.

That's the warm fuzzy side of giving.

The practical side necessitates that we plan ahead, know what we can and will give, and have it ready when the offering plate is passed. It's something we should ask God for guidance in and something couples should discuss and be able to agree on.

These are all difficult things, especially for a young family with children and struggling financially, or an elderly person on a fixed income. But God is God and He is bigger than any situation.

So this week when you prepare your offering or dig out change to send to Sunday school with the kids, take ten minutes to thank God for allowing us to be part of His plan through our giving.

I pray also that I can instill a love for God in my sons that they might desire to give generously to the Lord of not only their money, but time and talent as well. That they will serve with an unspeakable joy!

"Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful give. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: "He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever." -- 2 Corinthians 9:7-9

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Biography Information:
Susan McGrath is:

a recovering journalist trying to encourage others and glorify God through writing;

living the small-town life with husband Tim and sons Lincoln, 12, and Sawyer, 6;

completing a few put-off writing projects while using chocolate for therapy.
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