As we celebrate Independence Day, the 4th of July, throughout the United State, we thought it appropriate to talk about how generosity brings independence. We rarely think of this aspect of giving, but it is real and it really affects a person’s life. So how is it that giving of our own resources produces independence in our life? Let’s look first at the word independence:
Independence is the state of being independent or being free from outside control.
In the case of our country, independence means being free from the control of another country and its government. Free to will and to act independent of the actions and dictates of others outside of our country. In the case of generosity, independence is being free from the control of that which we are willing to give. When we have possessions, be it money, property or material resources, those possessions either have a hold of us or we have a hold of them. In other words, if we choose to allow the things we have to dictate how we live our lives, we are choosing to be mastered by those things.
Matthew, in his gospel, sheds some light on this subject by testifying of Jesus’ words, “Man cannot serve two masters… You cannot serve God and money.” (Matthew 6:24) Obviously, both God and money are real entities in our lives as humans. However, Jesus’ statement indicates that we have a limited choice in what or who we will serve. We can serve one or the other. We can serve neither. But we cannot serve both. Believing that God cares about our welfare, while also understanding that money, and the possessions we purchase with it, are nothing more than objects that have no concern about us, we suggest that the healthier choice made is to serve the first and not dedicate our lives to serving the latter.
So how can we know that we are independent from the mastery of money? The best, most complete way to know that your money isn’t ruling over you is to give it away. A master you are willing and able to give up is not a master at all. It is simply a resource. Acts of generosity are declarations of independence. Giving of the resources we have shows that we are not held by the things we possess. Declare Independence today by giving your Mite. There may not be a parade or fireworks. But there will indeed be a celebration!