Based on the response to People Don't Know, I feel like I need to clarify. Church giving had very little to do with the post, but I will share a little more about my past to demonstrate my position.
Shortly after my husband and I got married, we started attending the church he grew up in. Everyone there knew and loved him and readily accepted me. They threw me a baby shower with my first pregnancy.
They had a food pantry there that was for visiting missionaries. We had recently gotten out of Bible college and knew our journey to ministry was not over. That food pantry was always open to us. We never took from it, as we didn't need it, but we were never offended by the fact that we were welcome to it.
As we grew closer to families in the church, there was an open exchange. My best friend at the church had a boy one year older than ours. Their economic situation was a little more desperate than ours, but I never had a problem with taking outgrown pants or a booster seat, which we still use to this day.
A friend and I were talking about house cleaning. I told her my broom handle had recently snapped and how funny I looked crawling around on the floor. She said she had just gotten a new broom and offered me her old one, still in good shape. I was real thankful, as I was pregnant at the time and crawling while I swept was a little awkward.
We would have people over for dinner and others would have us over in return. It was a fairly close knit community, especially among the most active members. One friend always picked up stuff from the thrift store for my son. It was not because she thought we were poor. She got stuff for my son because she loved us and loved our son.
There is a difference between a gift of love and a gift that is not of love. As I wrote about in People Don't Know, we have been offered gifts that didn't feel like they were in love. They felt like a duty, and we are not comfortable with those gifts.