Sunday, February 16, 2014

Candy Molds & Tax Returns

A friend of mine handed me some candy molds, the other day.

"You want these?"

"Sure, I'll take 'em. Although this year I didn't even do anything. No cookies. No baking. Nothing!"

"What?! That's not like you."

"I was so busy." And as I started to explain, I realized I couldn't. I had nothing. I couldn't tell her three things I had done that made me so busy!
~~~~~
 
Next month we'll be taking every receipt, every scrap of paper, every detail of our pretty pathetic financial lives to a great guy we know. It's a bittersweet visit. We see him once a year. We laugh. We cry. We talk about our faith. He works his hardest for us, and we plead our hardest in front of him. He is not afraid to tell us no. (I still don't see eye-to-eye with him about dogs - very comfortable dogs - not being tax deductions.)
 
They do not call him "an accountant" for nothing. He takes stock of our expenditures and our windfalls. He is all about the Benjamins, and the Washingtons. He calls us to account. And when it comes to our charitable giving, he makes sure we account for that as well. He is a Christian brother, so he knows how God feels about giving. 

Deuteronomy 16:17Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which He has given you.
 
Proverbs 22:9 He who is generous will be blessed, for he gives some of his food to the poor.
 
2 Corinthians 9:7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly, or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.
 
Naturally, every year, as the time approaches to sit in front of him and give an account, I begin to think of our giving through the past year. Did we truly give as we were able? Did we give with a cheerful heart? Were we generous? Did we trust that God would supply our needs, and therefore, we could give without worry or reservation?
 
Truth is, I'm not sure our charitable giving is going to measure up the same way it did in past years. But dusty baking pans and a cringe worthy balance in our savings account tell a different story.
 
We did jobs pro bono, loaned money interest free (some turned out not so much to be loans, but gifts). So-and-so needs some extra food this week. He needs a ride to...  Extra money in the kettle at Walmart. Blood drive at work. Can you cook her a meal or two? Please help me with... Drop off your donation of clothing here.
 
Our lives were crazy! But crazy because God has given us so much. Understand that NONE OF THIS IS ABOUT ME, OR US! This is thoroughly -- every detail, every moment -- about God. Whether He gives us money or blesses us with knowledge, or time, or ability, or experience, or simply an honest desire to help someone, it is all about Him! He gave us opportunities to serve. He gave us the means to serve. He blessed us with the privilege of serving.
 
And, though I can't account for every minute, or why I was so busy -- I was. I woke up each day prepared to, eager to give God whatever I had of my day, my dollars and my ability. It was an awesome fiscal year! And it's all because of Him!