I'm newly married to an incredible man who loves me very well. That being said, this means that I'm newly relocated, newly unemployed, and newly dependent on my husband for my needs and wants. In my case, this also means that I'm newly emotional about my strange new life.

One Sunday afternoon, a couple of days following our five-month anniversary, my husband and I had just come in from rollerblading (our recent attempt to increase exercise, fun, and conforming to the Californian image). 

About a month earlier Gabe, my husband, had the idea that we needed our own activity and surprised me with brand new rollerblades (the ones I wanted, too, rather than the cheapest option) and the corresponding safety gear necessary for his accident-prone wife. A couple weeks after that, speaking to my inner homemaker, he gave me some money and the car for the day to run to Michaels so I could decorate our apartment for fall. And on our ‘monthiversary,’ he brought me bright yellow roses and took me out to dinner at my favorite restaurant. 

I. Am. Spoiled.

Back to that Sunday afternoon I was talking about...We got home and removed our rollerblades and safety pads. And that's when I lost it - sitting on the floor, crying for no apparent reason.

 My husband asked me what was wrong and I exploded in an outburst of self-pity and discouragement, "I can't spoil you! I don't have a job to make money to buy you gifts or surprise you. I just want to spoil you the way you spoil me!" And I recounted all the things he had done for me just that past week. 

Gabe consoled me, "You know I'm not into surprises like you are, and you don't have to buy me anything. You cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner for me almost every day! You keep our home nice, and you love me. That's how you spoil me." 

Blinking back tears, I hugged my husband knowing he was right and that I was doing everything I could to show my love to him, to care for him, and to spoil him in the ways available to me during this season of life. 

Fast-forward to today.

I'm reading a wonderful book for one of my classes that’s called Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald S. Whitney. As I sat reading that week’s chapter about stewardship, one I fully expected to roll my eyes at and just push through, I read the following nugget of wisdom:

Some people give to God like they fork over [money] to the IRS after an audit. Others give to God like they pay their electric bill. But a few people give to God like they give an engagement ring to their fiancée or like they give wrapped surprises to their ecstatic four-year-old on Christmas morning.
— Donald S. Whitney

That's when it hit me - what if I wanted to give to God like I want to give to my husband? Or perhaps, what if I wanted to spoil God the way I desire to be spoiled? What if I looked at the opportunity to give whatever I could to God and His Kingdom ministry the way that I so desperately want to give gifts or service to my husband?

As a couple, my husband and I can and do find financial ways to give to God and to the work of the Kingdom. That is, after all, a Scripturally-based mandate. As for me personally, however, I don't currently have a source of income from which to give monetarily to the ministry. But just as there are things I can do to spoil Gabe without money, there are certainly things I can do to give to God.

The question, then, becomes this: Am I willing to use my strength, my effort, my abilities, my giftings, my thoughts, my words, my actions, and my time to give to God? Are you?

These types of gifts don’t replace the Bible-based financial gifts that God wants us to give out of faith, joy, and worship, but I should have a deep desire to do whatever I can to try to spoil my Savior, to give back to Him – not to earn His love, but to thank Him for all He is and all He does and all He has done for me. I can never repay the overwhelming gift of salvation that God gave me through His Son Jesus Christ, but I can reveal my gratitude by giving back to Him, to His Church, and to His ministry.