Being financially generous is fairly easy for me. I tithe to my church, I tip very well in restaurants, I buy cookies from every Girl Scout who asks (and then give them away), I have been an ATM for my kids, have charities I support, and so on. So I have a confession to make: I can be a bit judgmental toward those stingy, selfish, hoarding, tippers-for-the-kingdom people. All evidence to the contrary.
What made me come to this confessional moment was the recognition that I am stingy, selfish, and hoarding too—not with money, but with time. All the harsh things I’ve thought over the years about the excuses people make for keeping money are all true for me and time:
- I’ve earned this time, so I can do with it what I want.
- I need to take care of my own time first and then I’ll donate any I have left over.
- I can’t afford to give any more time.
- I’m on a fixed income of time, and so I have to be careful.
- At least I give more time than some other people I know.
- All the church ever talks about is time, that’s all they want from me.
So I stand convicted. The law is at work in me. I am embarrassed and a bit ashamed. I am in need of forgiveness. Seriously.
But there’s still a problem—I can live with the small amount of guilt, because I don’t really want to change my time-habits. I am in bondage to sin and cannot free myself. Admittedly, I generally enjoy the way I use time. As an enneagram 5, I am greedy about time and want to control as much of it as I can myself. I will need an intervention by the Holy Spirit to change my heart on this, because I don’t see much solemn repentance happening in my life around this issue.
I suspect, however, that the wretched Holy Spirit is beginning to do some cursed changes anyway. Otherwise, I don’t think I would have realized my own chronological stinginess and likely wouldn’t have made some sort of public confession on the issue.
I really don’t want to change, though. And I’m willing to bet I’ll be fighting the Holy Spirit tooth-and-nail on this one. I hope I win, but I’m afraid I won’t. I do know I’ll fight a good fight.
I fear I’m already losing some ground. This is what God seems to have achieved in me: I have more empathy (a little bit) for those who cling to their finances as if doing so would be life-giving. For I recognize I do the same. I will withhold judgment (somewhat) against those who keep as much money as they can. For I know I am the same. At least God isn’t driving me to give time at a Food Pantry or be a CASA volunteer. At least not yet.
I’ll be watching to see how God continues working this one. I can afford the time.
I am curious, however, as to how others are generous with the gift of time God gives every day. Would you mind taking a little time and sharing that here? Thanks.