91: The Joy of Giving

91: The Joy of Giving

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Wives

The Joy of Giving

By Kay Conner Pliszka

For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power . . .

~Hebrews 4:12

My husband and I recently celebrated our fortieth wedding anniversary. Before our marriage, friends had jokingly said, “It’s never going to last.”

Mike and I are as different as night and day. He is a neat freak who throws out all but necessities. I keep everything. He is a sports fanatic. I am not. He would rather be home alone watching TV. I would rather entertain friends. Mike hates being around children. I love kids. But the biggest challenge comes because I am a Christian and he is not.

When Mike was young, he was an altar boy with dreams of becoming a priest. Unfortunately, now he is bitter about religion. This breaks my heart because I am deeply invested in my faith.

When, in the past, he questioned my beliefs, even if sarcastically, I did my best to explain. And I rejoiced that he was at least being inquisitive. For years, I have suggested he direct his questions to one of the ministers of my church. But he won’t do that. His questions are difficult. Why do bad things happen to good people? Why do some folks who call themselves Christians act improperly? How can I believe in a God who is invisible? How does one explain blind faith?

It seems, though, that most of our quibbles center on my time or money spent on others. Mike doesn’t care if I spend money on myself or on family or if I spend time on something I enjoy. He just doesn’t get that giving my time and money for others in need is what Christians do.

A few months ago, Mike came to church because I was singing a solo. The minister talked about tithing. He quoted the Bible, saying: “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” (Matthew 16:26).

Since then, when Mike gets upset because he feels I’m giving too much of my time or money to a church or community project, I no longer even try to explain. I just quietly repeat, “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?”

After forty years, I have finally found the one way to stop Mike’s angry questions on this subject — no explanations, no frustrating replies, no arguments, just powerful words from the Bible. And then there is silence.

I think in his heart Mike wants to have faith, to believe in a God of love and to understand my joy. I pray for him every day. But I know that the most important thing I can do is to show my husband patience and kindness and my great love for God.

Perhaps, through my words and actions, one day Mike, too, will come to know my Jesus and the joy of giving.

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