Regifting God (From The Cutting Room Floor)
Have you ever re-gifted something? Have you ever received something that was a re-gift? It’s one thing when it ends up being something you like or even want. But, most of the time, it’s the stuff that nobody wants that ends up being re-gifted.
From my intense research, this is what I found to be the origin of the term ReGifting. I can’t verify this for sure, but here’s where the idea came from.
Okay, I don’t really know for sure if that’s where the term started. Maybe. I also don’t know where the phrase Time, Talent and Treasure originated. From my research, it appears to be something that came from way before me, appearing in print for the first time in 1852.
On Sunday, we talked about living a generous life. Not just when it comes to finances, though, that’s a part of it. We were more dealing with the idea of having generous hearts. Why? Because God is generous. He is abundantly generous. God is rich in mercy and abounding in love. He sent His one and only son to pay for the sins of the whole world. God created this world for us to enjoy and then put us in charge of it all. God is a radically generous God.
The New Testament Church was a radically generous community. The shared all their possessions. They shared their meals. No one had a need that wasn’t met. They even sold their land to care for the least among them. There was no upper class or lower class, only brothers and sisters. There was a church who actually fought for the chance to give an offering – when, by all accounts they should have been counted out because they were so poor, but they gave out of their poverty and even more than that.
Fast forward to today, and what does the church look like? Sure, there are many among us who are generous. But, they are generally the exception.
2 Cor. 9:6-7 says: “6 The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
What keeps us from being cheerful givers? What keeps us from finding joy in giving away what God has entrusted us? Well, I think it’s a false belief. We think it’s our money.
Psalm 24 tells us: “1 The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
2 for he founded it on the seas
and established it on the waters.”
Everything we have is already God’s, but we get misled and confused. We think that because we worked for it, it belongs to us. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. It belongs to God. You may work and receive a paycheck, but God put you in a place where you could make as much as you do. What about those around the world in third world countries who work much harder than we do and receive much less? What about those whose work never results in a paycheck? God is the grand designer of our lives, whatever we have is because He has given it to us.
And he wants us to be generous with it, giving it back to Him for building His kingdom…giving it to others in the community of faith to meet there needs and being generous in many other ways as God creates the opportunity for us to do so. God doesn’t need or want our money. With God, the point is never about money or whatever it is God is asking for. God is after our hearts. He wants complete ownership of our heart. For that to happen, there can’t be anything our lives that is more important to us than God. We think the church is just after “our” money, when the reality is God is working through the church to reach the deepest parts of your heart. The church isn’t after your money, God isn’t after your money. God wants all of you.
This is what God says:
9 I have no need of a bull from your stall
or of goats from your pens,
10 for every animal of the forest is mine,
and the cattle on a thousand hills.
11 I know every bird in the mountains,
and the insects in the fields are mine.
12 If I were hungry I would not tell you,
for the world is mine, and all that is in it. (Psalm 50:9-12)
God doesn’t need “our” money, because it’s already His. Everything we have is His. And He wants us to regift it. But not in the same way we normally think of. Regifting is usually that thing nobody wants.
Unfortunately, that’s how most of us give to God. We give him the time, but only when there isn’t anything else better we could do with our time. I’ll go to church unless so and so asks me to do this or that. I’ll go to church as long as I get this done first. I’ll spend some time with my community of believers unless something more fun presents itself as an option. I’m okay to use the talents God has given me for the kingdom, but I ought to get paid too. I could help my neighbor with this skill God has given me, but my time is worth something, I can’t just work for free all the time. I’ll give God money after I get enough in savings. I’ll start tithing once I get a raise and have a little more cushion.
Basically, we take the very best of everything we have for ourselves and give the leftovers to God. For many of us, we don’t even do that.
I think this is something we need to address in the church. We’ve started the conversation at our church. It’s important. Why? Well, I think this is one of the primary reasons the church exploded onto the scene. This is why so many people wanted to be a part of this radical community – because they saw how they loved one another. Most of us in this era have never been a part of a community that loves each other in this way.
But, can you imagine if we started? If we just started sacrificing for the needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ? Do you know what would happen, those that are the recipients of our generosity will go and tell people about this awesome community that takes care of us. The unbelieving world around us would see us reflecting to one another the radical generosity we have received from our heavenly father. And that would draw them to their creator and savior.
I think it would be awesome.