Everything we do and everything we are hinges on our attitude. Attitude is defined as: “a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person’s behavior.” Chuck Swindoll said, “Words can never adequately convey the incredible impact of our attitudes toward life. The longer I live the more convinced I become that life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we respond to it.” Examining our attitudes can be very humbling and convicting. Consider some of these convicting words regarding our attitude:
If I belittle those whom I am called to serve, talk of their weak points in contrast perhaps with what I think of as my strong points; if I adopt a superior attitude, forgetting “Who made thee to differ? and what hast thou that thou hast not received?” then I know nothing of Calvary love. ~ Amy Carmichael
You say, “Well, I am not going to be anyone’s ‘yes man.’ If I see something wrong in a person, I’m going to warn others about it.” Fine. But beware that what you are calling ”courage to speak out” is not more truly a deception masking a rebellious, dishonouring attitude. ~ Francis Franqipane
A test of a Christian’s character is what he does after he comes to the blockade in the road and what his attitude is after everything has left him except Jesus. ~ Lester Roloff
When it comes to giving, our attitude determines how we give, what we give, and the manner in which we give. You will never be successful in any point in life without having the right attitude toward that specific area. I would dare say that the level of success or accomplishment in any area of your life is over 90% determined by your attitude. Therefore, our level of giving of our time, talents, and treasure, hinges on our attitude toward giving. As we consider the attitude of giving, there are really four right attitudes that we must have.
Attitude of Gratitude (Psalm 100:4 ; James 1:17). Every good thing we have comes from God the Father. We have been blessed in immeasurable ways.
Ravensbruck was known as one of the worst German concentration camps during World War II. When Corrie ten Boom and her sister Betsie found themselves imprisoned there, they were disgusted to discover that their barracks were infested with fleas. When Corrie began to complain, Betsie insisted that they instead give thanks, quoting 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” With some persuasion, Corrie finally joined her sister in thanking God for the fleas. Several months later, the two sisters expressed their surprise that the camp guards had never come back to their barracks to disrupt or prevent the evening Bible studies they held for their fellow prisoners. It was then that Corrie realized that the very fleas which she had so despised had actually been a God-sent protection from the cruel guards. Sometimes the difficult things in life are not a curse, but rather, a blessing.
It would literally take all day to list all the things that we have to be thankful for. When we consider what we have been giving, it causes us to be more engaged in giving ourselves. Consider some of the things of which we should be thankful for: 1. Our family. 2. God’s provision. 3. Our church. The more we are reminded of the blessings of life and all that we have been given, the greater our giving will be.
Attitude of Cooperation (1 Corinthians 12:12-18 ; 2 Corinthians 8:1-7). I believe in two aspects of the Body of Christ. There is the universal body of Christ that encompasses all born-again believers around the globe and there is the local body of Christ which is the local church that you attend. We see a pattern in the New Testament where there is cooperation amongst both the local church and the universal church. Within the local church it is important that we cooperate with one another in our spiritual growth and in our mission to reach our community with the Gospel. Such cooperation involves everyone in the work. There is something for everyone to do. The more cooperation there is, the greater growth is seen in the church and the greater potential there will be in reaching the lost for Christ. Having an attitude of cooperation involves each church member using their spiritual gifts and God-given talents to invest in the work of the church. When we all do our part, there will be nothing lacking in the ministry of the church. It is also imperative that we maintain an attitude of cooperation with the universal church. We should partner with other believers, churches, and mission organizations for the sake of the Gospel. There is so much more we can accomplish for the Kingdom together than apart. As we pull resources together and have a cooperative spirit, the life changing power of the Gospel will be felt and experienced all around the world. I believe the greatest example of such cooperation is the cooperation we have as a Southern Baptist Church. There is no greater mission organization than that of Southern Baptists. As we cooperate with our local association, state convention, national convention, and the various mission boards and Southern Baptist entities, the sun will never set on our ministry and the influence we have around the world. You see, it’s not about you and it’s not about me. It’s not about who has the biggest church. It’s not about promoting ourselves and our personal endeavors. We are one body in Christ. As one body we are to work together in bringing the good news of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world. A giver is someone who is not selfish. A giver is someone who is not focused only on their own personal agendas. A giver is someone who cooperates with other believers. You cannot be a giver without an attitude of cooperation.
Attitude of Joy (Acts 20:35 ; 2 Corinthians 9:7). Have you ever experienced the joy of giving? A few weeks ago, I was out of town for a special training. I was gone over the course of two weeks. I was in class from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day. At the end of the day, I would go for a walk in a park or in a mall just to clear my mind. It was both refreshing and lonely. I missed my family. On my last day there I went to the mall and bought some gifts to bring home to my family. I was so excited about the gifts and could not wait to get home and give them their gifts. I think I was more excited and joyful over giving them those gifts than they were receiving them. There are many times when I have given to people I don’t even know. There are times when I have personally paid for hotel rooms for people who are homeless. There have also been times when I have paid for someone’s meal without them knowing it. On one occasion, I remember a single mom getting her oil changed. Come to find out her vehicle needed a lot more work than an oil change. I could see she was very stressed and worried as she waited for her vehicle to get done. As I went up to the counter to pay for the repairs on my vehicle I leaned over and whispered to the attendant and said give me the bill for that lady. After paying the bill I walked out and got in my car and just started to laugh and praised the Lord for enabling me to give. To this day I can only imagine the reaction of that single mom as she found out the bill she was so worried about was paid by a perfect stranger. Oh, the joy of giving! There is nothing like it! Let me tell you something, giving is fun! One of the greatest joys I have is when I sit down and write my tithe check to the church each week. It is a blast! Giving is one of those things that is addicting. Once you start giving you just can’t stop. It feels you with joy beyond compare. It is such a blessing to give! When we give, we should not give reluctantly or with a sad countenance. We should give joyfully. What is your attitude toward giving? Do you have and attitude of joy?
Attitude of Love (John 15:13 ; Matthew 22:37-40). The motive of our giving should come from a heart of love for God and for people. The more you love God, the more you love people, and the more you give. God gives to us because He loves us. He gave us His Son to die on the cross in our place because He loves us. Does your love for God and for people compel you to give? Do you truly love God and love people? Is the love of God flooding your soul in such a way that it spills over into the lives of others? Our love for God can be measured by examining two things: our day planner, and our checkbook. How we spend our time and how we spend our money is a good picture of where our heart lies and what we love. What does your day planner and checkbook reveal about you? Do you have an attitude of love that compels you to give?
These attitudes of giving do not come naturally to us. We are sinners. Our natural selves tend to focus on our own wants and desires. We naturally care more for our own comfort. However, having the attitude of giving is developed as we grow in our walk with God. The closer we are to Him, the more unnatural we become. We begin to focus on the well being of others rather than our own. We being to focus on reaching others for Jesus and investing in the Kingdom rather than in the things of this world. What is your attitude when it comes to giving? May we all examine our hearts, have an attitude check, and be a better giver.