Are You a Strategic or Selfless Giver?
An Expose on the life of Ruth
Ruth was a very dynamic young woman who had the one skill everyone needs for a wealthy Christian living- Giving. We can all remember how Ruth was selfless and super respectful in the scriptures. She practically ignored her dreams and focused on taking care of the older widow and bereaved mother. That sounds to me like giving one’s life for another. I cannot even begin to imagine how that can feel, but someone took it upon herself, survived it, and had a great life after all. How many young widows do you know that will decide to stay in their mother-in-law’s house instead of living independently?
Beyond taking care of a fellow widow, she exhibited the giving that most church leaders wish for, but hers was different- she needed no prompting. She seemed to be natural, although she was not; she had motive and intention. You want to contest this assertion, wait until you finish reading this piece. It is okay not to be a natural giver. Giving is a skill, which means we get to improve on it as much as we want.
Permit me to say this- asides from the freedom, 96% of widows are never psychologically or mentally prepared to take on such responsibility no matter how much they love their Mother-in-law. The sweet thing is that even the older women don’t try to expect as much as that. Can you blame them? They understand what is obtainable in today’s world and do not try to push their luck.
Sadly, this has some resemblance to our relationship with God. We do not want to give our all, but we want to receive all the benefits of serving God. I will tell you this for free- God does not work with the obtainable, he designs the standard, and if anyone must reap the full benefit, that person must be ready to give his/her all. He wants us to find daily provision and enjoy the abundance (prosperity) of his goodwill. That is the standard, and the church must begin to teach this level of giving as a principle for wealthy living. It goes beyond serving in a church unit, and Christians must learn that.
The human mind trains itself to give and expect to receive in return. That has been the norm for ages, even with Ruth. That is why church leaders need to teach selflessness with tools that will make it attractive for members to accept and keep practicing. This way, giving for causes within the church will not have to either be a levy or coercion.
Let me show you three things that made Ruth the mother of strategic giving; and how we can learn from her.
1. She Weighed Her Options & Made the Better Choice Silently
Ruth knew that Moab was a smaller nation and an enemy nation at that. The bible did not record that she came from an astonishingly rich or powerful family. For all we know, she might have been rejected by her own family for marrying into a nation that does not serve their idol. Most likely, she would be building relationships from afresh if she went back to the land of the Moabites. She was a more faithful wife than Oprah and might not have a relationship with her family in the land of Moab.
Now tell me, if you were to be her, would you go to the family you left, abandoned and neglected for years, as to stay where you are loved and accepted?
Ruth knew that as long as she had Naomi by her side, she had a great measure of goodwill. So she made a plan and stuck to it. For her, taking care of Naomi was an opportunity to lead a better life and serve the God of her husband’s family without restriction. She had motive and intention!
2. She Chose to Satisfy Her Need Instead Of Taking the Offer
Now Naomi was a great mother-in-law who had her sons’ wives’ interests at heart. She thought she was doing them both a favor by asking them to go back to their father’s house so that they could remarry and be well-fed, but dear Ruth knew that her purpose was more than handouts of comfort and luxury. Ruth had not experienced a tenth of God’s goodness, and someone was unconsciously trying to push her to the other side. Politely, the woman canvassed her mother-in-law to let her stay as she has no intention of leaving till death comes. Her mother-in-law is to be a guide on her journey of faith. Her need was more than the offer of freedom Naomi gave, so she made the freedom of being independent her opportunity cost. Even though she did not know the plan, she was hopeful that her story was not over yet. Once again, it was a calculated move. You may not consent to this, but go on to the next one before you decide.
3. She Got Served Right
The journey to Bethlehem must have been frightening. Having chosen to stay with Naomi and help her, she knew that she was going to a country that referred to her home country, an enemy nation. She couldn’t go back to Moab because she was already an outcast. Being a childless widow gave her plenty of reason to shrink back into a shell and live in obscurity, but she didn’t. She got to Israel and was honored by Naomi’s people. She kept on living her life learning from her mother in law and her people until she decided in her heart to give to Naomi. She went out to the field to work. The question is why it took her a while for her to go and work?
God works in mysterious ways. If not, why was it Boaz’s field she chose? The man gave with all his heart without having any intention. He sought to make the two widows happy. However, with her mother-in-law’s help, they tried to get him to be her kinsman-redeemer; but the man turned the table around. He let her lay at his feet till daybreak but went out the next morning to fulfill tradition over her redemption as his wife. He was God’s way of telling her that her giving was only strategic, not selfless.
A lot of Christians today are like Ruth while the Church is Naomi and Boaz, the pastor-in-charge. Like Ruth did to Naomi, we drink from the church’s cup all the time, but we give back in droplets. Like Boaz, the pastor-in-charge must bring us back on track when we are going overboard.
It is a good thing now that Digital churches all over the world have now fully emerged; we no longer need to start asking for account details of any church before we can give. ChurchPad has a text-to-give product that makes it very easy and fun to give to causes or projects with no worries about security. It is the right tool every church leader needs to teach the difference between strategic and selfless giving.
Sign up to start your free trial today.
By Temitayo Badewole