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The Importance of the Lost Art of Sacrificial Giving

Sacrificial giving is a lost art in our #blessed culture. Too often, we'll give from the overflow of our closets rather than of our hearts. We can give better.(Last Updated On: December 13, 2017)

Is sacrificial giving something that weighs on your heart like it does mine? I find myself torn because so many causes seem worthwhile, but giving sacrificially is so much more than just donating. It’s having the right heart in the process.

Sacrificial giving is a lost art in our culture built on abundance and wealth. Too often, we’ll give out of the overflow of our closets rather than the overflow of our hearts.

Or we pay all our bills and then see what’s left for the Lord and charity. Or give away items we’ve loved just a bit too long.

Sacrificial giving is a lost art. We give out of the overflow of our closets rather than the overflow of our hearts. Click To Tweet
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And I’m guilty! I’ve chosen to give away things that in retrospect would shame me if I were accepting them.

We really don’t do this maliciously. We think, this has some value left, someone with nothing would appreciate this. It’s better than throwing it away. 

And sometimes we’re just too tired and overly busy to take the time to decide what to do with things that might help someone, but might not. . . and thinking donating is better than trashing, we bag them up and haul them to the nearest charity.

But my scripture reading has really been challenging me to think more about my giving . . .

And about the person receiving my donation. Will they be blessed by my gift? Will my gift remind them of their worth and value, show them they are loved?

My old pair of sneakers doesn’t say any of those things, if I’m honest. While a pair of shoes I’ve barely worn might actually be useful and appreciated, the Bible’s themes on giving have changed my perspective on how our family practices tithing and giving.

I've changed how I think about donating. Will my gift tell the person receiving it that they are valuable and loved? Because it should. Click To Tweet

Give First

Set aside your tithes and charity gifts from your budget as a hard line item. Then work your budget from there.

Proverbs 3:9-10 ESV Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.

He wants our best and first.

But God doesn’t need anything we have, so why does it matter what we give or how?

Because He wants us to give for us.

Because when we give rightly, our hearts acknowledge Him. We bask in humility knowing it is by grace alone we have things to give away, and that we rest in sure salvation with the promise of eternal life.

Those are the gifts we’ve been given, and when we give rightly, we reflect that John 3:16 kind of love. God’s love for us cost Him. When we give it should cost us, too.

Give Sacrificially

Giving doesn’t have to be hard and painful, but it should cost the giver something, even if just our time. Because our giving isn’t really for the orphans in China or to build a well, our giving is really a right response to God.

While not technically about how we are to give to the needy, one Bible story always comes to mind when I think about giving.

David was making atonement for his sin and building an altar to worship God. But when he found the place where God wanted him to build the altar, the owner of the threshing floor offered to give him the place, grain, animals he needed for the sacrifice as his service to the king.

In 2 Samuel 24:24 (cross referenced 1 Chronicles 21:24) But the king (David) said to Araunah, “No, but I will buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.

And neither do I want to offer God gifts that have cost me nothing.

This week our home has practiced sacrificial giving. We gave some things that we loved and some that cost us financially to help friends in need. But we also gave away something very precious that no amount of money can restore.

I will not offer gifts to my Lord that cost me nothing. This lesson from David echoes in my soul when I think about sacrificial giving. Click To Tweet

And I’ll be honest, I’m not sure I can write about it in a way that encompasses what this meant to me, but I’ll try.

Having a daughter was my dream. I imagined playing with her hair, learning to braid it, trying cute styles. And then I had this kid whose hair does-not-grow. She was nearly bald until she was almost two. By the time she was three, she needed her first real trim, but I was letting her hair grow after that so I could enjoy having those little girl moments with my daughter.

But that all changed in October 2015 when my best friend’s two-year-old son was diagnosed with a down syndrome related form of leukemia.

Very early into his treatment he lost his hair. My daughter, who was five at the time, grew very sad imagining all the little girls fighting cancer who would lose their hair as well. She promptly asked me if there was some way for her to give them hers. I was very moved. We began to research ways to donate hair.

We grew our hair for more than three years before this picture and our donation. We learned that sacrificial giving matters to God because what it teaches us.

While we understand there is a gigantic cost in creating these specialty hair pieces, we decided to donate only to companies that provide their wigs free of charge for the recipients. And my daughter was set on donating specifically to children, so we chose Wigs for Kids.

We both had already gone about a year between haircuts when we decided to donate, but our hair had to be 12 inches to donate, so we wanted to grow it a bit longer.  I thought it might take six months.

We grew our hair for another two years!

For myself, I was getting fed up with taking care of it!

I can’t tell you the number of times I accidentally trapped myself on the bed by laying on my hair!

Drying my hair took forever! And drying hers was starting to be a nightmare between dealing with tangles and a squirmy seven-year-old.

Drying my hair and hers was taking forever, but giving it away was harder than I thought it would be. I learned a lot about sacrificial giving!

But I loved my daughter’s long beautiful hair.

I was finally learning to French braid, and I had truly enjoyed watching her hair grow. Seeing the sunlight glowing in her auburn locks helped me better understand when the Bible describes a woman’s hair as a crown of glory.

When it came time to donate, I tried not to be maudlin, but the moment was very bittersweet. As slowly as her hair grows, she will never have these little girl locks again. She’ll be almost ten before it’s this long again.

Cutting twelve inches off her hair meant giving up on a silly, selfish, but very natural MOM desire of playing with her hair.

Sacrificial giving is a lost art in our #blessed culture. Too often, we'll give from the overflow of our closets rather than of our hearts. We can give better.

This fall, as I struggled with taking steps to finally cut our hair, my dear friend’s older son was diagnosed with brain cancer. He is fighting his own battle with radiation and preparing for chemo in the new year. I couldn’t know that we would be donating in honor of both her boys, but was glad we had waited.

We proudly filled out our donation forms, one for Will and the second for Jon.

Happily, a very talented photographer spent an afternoon capturing the memories for us which made it a little easier to finally schedule the appointments knowing we would always have pictures.

The day of our salon appointment, I was talking with my friend. She felt a little guilty that we were cutting her hair. But I stressed that the giving had to cost us something to be a sacrifice. Then, we were both tearing up.

The best part of our sacrificial giving is that we both ended up more beautiful - on the inside and out!
The best part of our sacrificial giving is that we both ended up more beautiful – on the inside and out!

And it only took a few snips to let go of what had taken years to grow, but the lesson it taught us both in giving was priceless.

While I learned to let go of her hair, another mother is struggling with the idea of letting go of her child. Precious bald heads are fighting battles I can only pray over and dare to imagine if it were mine.

In a few weeks, another mother may stroke my daughter’s hair on her daughter’s precious head, treasuring those sweet moments more tangibly than I ever could.

Our gift will allow some little girl to shine like the sun with her new, sun-drenched locks. That sweet young woman will feel beautiful and treasured.

Just like God SO loves us.

John 3: 16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

And he gave us this sweet lesson just in time for Christmas.

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