As I’m sitting here pondering what I’m going to get my wife for Christmas, I am reminded of how my quest for romantic giving is so similar to how Spirit-led, freewill giving can be. If I were under a legalistic covenant with my wife, I wouldn’t worry about searching for gifts that touch her heart in a unique way. With legalism, all I have to worry about is just giving to my wife consistently and mechanically. But because I am free from legalism, my mind and heart can wander off to give in ways that are romantic, creative, and sacrificial. I don’t need mechanisms in place to motivate my giving or even to provide for the most basic of needs. I give sacrificially to my wife because I love her.
Romantic giving and Spirit-led giving are neither complex nor ambiguous chores for me because my intimate relationships help me understand the deepest desires of my recipients. I don’t have to wonder if my wife will appreciate what I’m giving her because she’s already communicated to me what she wants. The same goes for Spirit-led giving. Because of our personal relationship with our Savior, our communication allows me to be constantly aware of God’s expectations. I don’t need a methodical list of chores like Israel had; simply because the veil of separation between creator and creation has been torn.
It’s quite sad to me that many still use tithing as a requirement in Christian practices. A benchmark for our giving is completely out of character in a period of time that is by faith through grace, and not of ourselves. The reason it is not of ourselves is because God has made a distinction between physical and spiritual requirements. The gospel pounds that concept into us and yet we still assume acceptance is gained through our physical requirements and not our spiritual accomplishments.
Spiritual accomplishments can be obtained through any benchmark or standard, but I’m not here to tell you what you should give. The best thing I can say is that this Christmas I’m going to give my wife a gift that is spontaneous, sacrificial, creative, and intimate. And if my love for my wife affects me in this way, then how should my giving towards God be affected?
This Christmas, think about how God gives to us and use that model to give to others. God wants willing and cheerful givers. Think about the gift of his son and the sacrifice he made for us.