The following devotional was written by Nancy Hamilton Sturm of Wichita, Kansas, and published in The Secret Place on February 13, 2010. She was gracious enough to let me post it today in honor of Valentine's Day. She is a wonderful inspirational writer - check out her blog at www.lookingattheson.blogspot.com.
Imagine that someone has given you a big box of chocolates. What is the first thing you do? Most of us would probably say thank you, open the box, and graciously offer the first piece to the giver of this scrumptious gift. Would you begrudge giving away that first piece of chocolate? No, of course not, for the rest of the candy would be yours to enjoy!
I think this is what God had in mind when he commanded us to tithe. God created the world, and all of creation is a gift from God. Our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual lives are also God's gift to us. God has given us a gigantic box of chocolates and would be pleased if we would, with cheerful hearts, say thank you and offer God the first piece.
"Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Corinthians 9:7)