From the fields around the towns they were to bring into the storerooms the portions required by the Law for the priests and the Levites, for Judah was pleased with the ministering priests and Levites.Nehemiah 12:44b
Those offerings and contributions were given with pleasure. The Scriptures carefully inform us that offerings mean nothing if they are not given cheerfully. If you are not giving with pleasure, God does not want your gift. He does not care how big or small it is. If all you are after is to make an impression on others by the size of your gift, God is not interested in that. Jesus told of a widow who put two tiny pieces of money into the treasury, saying that she had given more than all that the rich people had cast in that day. God would pick up that insignificant amount and use it more mightily than He would the larger gifts of the wealthy. What God looks for always is a note of pleasure, of delight, of cheerfully returning funds to him out of a thankful heart.
Dr. H. A. Ironside used to tell the story of an old Scotsman who inadvertently dropped a gold sovereign in the collection bag at a church service. In Scotland, when the ushers take up the offering, they use a long pole with a bag on the end of it, which they pass among the pews. This old Scotsman put in a gold sovereign by mistake when he meant to put in only a shilling. As soon as he realized his mistake, he tried to retrieve his sovereign. But the usher pulled the bag back and said,
Nah, once in, always in! The old man said,
Ah well, I'll get credit for it in glory. The usher replied,
Nah, you'll get credit for the shilling! That is all the old man intended to give. So we are to give as God has given, freely and gladly.
The closing sentence of this paragraph says,
They also set aside the portion for the other Levites. They were careful to take care of others who were not able to be there or who were busy performing and therefore did not have opportunity to share in the offerings. This is a beautiful picture of the oneness of the nation of Israel. God was constantly seeking to teach these people that they belonged to each other. They were not individualists, doing their own thing, but they were workers together with God. I do not know any truth that is more important in the body of Christ than to recognize that God uses people different from us. We must recognize that our way of serving God is not the only way but that we belong to and need one another.
Father, thank You that out of the abundance of what You have given to me, I can give to others, knowing that You will continue to provide for my needs.
What motive is at the true center of our heart in our giving? Are we so grateful for God's gifts to us that we give willingly, cheerfully, generously, and with compassion?