While Kaye and I searched for a church home in the Nashville area, we still gave to our former church in Miami. Throughout this process, the truth that your heart follows your giving was affirmed for me. Or as Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Because we were still financially invested in Christ Fellowship Miami, I found myself praying daily for CF and her pastors and cheering her on daily.
It reminded me of a few experiences as executive pastor. Each year, names of individuals would be recommended to me to consider for a key volunteer role in the church, such as personnel team, stewardship team, or deacon. We were not checking the giving records of folks at the church unless someone was going to be considered for a role on those teams. And at times, looking at the records was shocking. Some folks considered to be “spiritual” were occasionally only tipping God or giving nothing at all. The pattern of generosity because of the grace of God was clearly not evident. And often as I reflected on those who fell into that category, I would remember other conversations and other instances where the people displayed a critical spirit or a negative attitude toward something or someone in the church. There seemed to be, from casual observation, a connection between a lack of generosity in giving and a critical, narcissistic, divisive attitude.
And then I noticed my own heart. While visiting churches that were not receiving our giving, I did not have the same love, burden, and passion for them. My heart was still with the church where I gave.
My hunch is that often the most critical people in a church, the ones who cannot seem to get excited about what God is doing, don’t give. Or they don’t give much. Because when you give to a ministry, you want the best for that ministry. You are invested. You speak well of that ministry. You support it. You encourage the leaders. You long to contribute. You want the church to thrive and reach her community. You pray for the ministry. Your heart is there because your giving is there.