Plastic Donuts. They’re everywhere, but few things are more misunderstood. When they do come up in conversation, it feels awkward, even confusing. It’s like something’s missing.
Did you know the first murder in recorded history followed some hard feelings between two brothers over Plastic Donuts? That could explain why we hear so many dos and don’ts centered on the subject. The problem is, the rules contradict one another. That’s a real tragedy for all of us, because these simple Donuts can bring such joy and delight to the heart of God.
They show up in the stories of some of the biggest events in history. A man named Noah gave them after being stranded on an ark. God responded with a rainbow in the sky.
Another man, named Solomon, gave some Donuts, and God visited him in a dream.
A fellow named Cornelius gave them and received a visit from an angel.
Make no mistake. This is important stuff.
I’m Jeff Anderson, and I’ll start by sharing a story about a Plastic Donut that was given to me. It was a gift that changed me forever.
For years I had been trying to understand more about giving, and more about God. I had wrestled with the issues, debated, stayed up late to study, even lost sleep. I was given a Plastic Donut just in time, and it opened my eyes to giving from God’s perspective.
If you’ll stick with me (it’s a short book, right?), I trust you’ll enjoy the experience. I hope you will learn new things about God. And I hope you will look deeply into yourself—where you will be reminded of the power of a Father’s love and the power of your gifts.
With all the different messages spelling out the rules of giving, wouldn’t it be great to finally get some clarity and peace about this issue? I’ll make you a promise. When you start to see giving from God’s perspective, the lights will come on. You’ll see that you really can feel good about your gifts.
And it gets back to a Plastic Donut. A simple, easily dismissed token of love holds the secret to getting your mind and your heart on the same page. Isn’t that what you’ve been looking for?
I’m not a professional fund-raiser, and this isn’t a book about pressure or guilt. Rather it’s a message about the
power of gifts, the way we give, and who we give to. The Plastic Donut can open your eyes to God in a way that clears up questions and dispels anxiety. What you’ll experience brings enormous freedom. You’ll feel the weight of uncertainty being lifted from your shoulders, and you’ll be challenged by what you learn about your gifts.
Some of the ways we’ve been encouraged to give are weak, but some of the ways we’ve convinced ourselves not to give are also questionable. Fair enough?
I was in my twenties when I first heard teachings about money in church. I recall hearing that we should spend less than we earn, avoid debt, and give 10 percent to the church. But there was a problem.
I had lived out these principles since childhood. My parents taught me about tithing. I enjoyed calculating my tithe because I enjoyed counting my money. And I learned to manage my spending and avoid debt mainly because I craved cash more than stuff. I was doing the “right” things. Still, something was missing. I had a growing sense of financial peace, but spiritual peace about giving was lacking.
Was there more to pleasing God with my money than having a budget and a clean tithing record? This question sparked a hunger in me to understand how God views giving and how my giving could actually get His attention.
We’ve all heard sermons and read statistics about the meager rate of giving, even among churchgoers. Yes, greed and materialism are real forces in our lives. But don’t you think that deep down inside Christians have a desire to give?
Still, the mixed messages we hear on the subject can be frustrating. The appeals, demands, and “answers” will continue to bombard us. There must be a better way.
That’s where the Plastic Donut comes in.
Excerpted from Plastic Donuts by Jeff Anderson. Copyright © 2013 by Jeff Anderson. Excerpted by permission of Multnomah Books, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.