2 Corinthians 9:7 (NIV)
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
Zig Zigler, well-known motivational speaker tells the story about a thief who was robbed. The incident took place back in 1887 in a small neighborhood grocery store when a middle-aged gentleman, Emanuel Nenger, gave the assistant a $20 note to pay for the turnip greens he was purchasing. When the assistant placed the note in the cash drawer she noticed that some of the ink from the $20 came off on her hands which were wet from wrapping the turnip greens.
She'd known Mr. Nenger for years and was shocked. She ponders, "Is this man giving me a counterfeit $20 note?" She dismissed the thought immediately and gave him his change. But $20 was a lot of money in those days so she notified the police who, after procuring a search warrant, went to Emanuel Nenger's home where they found in his attic the tools he was using to reproduce the counterfeit $20 notes. They found an artist's easel, paint brushes, and paints which Nenger was using to meticulously paint the counterfeit money. He was a master artist.
The police also found three portraits that Nenger had painted paintings that sold at public auction for a little over $16,000! The irony was that it took him almost as much time to paint a $20 note as it did to paint those portraits which sold for more than $5,000 each.
The man that robbed Emanuel Nenger was himself. We do the same whenever we cheat or break the law including God's laws for illegitimate gain. And while most of us wouldn't rob another person of his or her material possessions, it is very easy to rob a person's reputation through idle gossip.
We also rob and cheat ourselves when we don't give to God and to others in need. . .whether it is of our time, talents, resources, or love.
Dear Lord, we pray that we would have the right attitude when we give what You have given to us. Help us share Your love by what we give and how we give it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.