I’ve read a lot of great books in 2013 but Plastic Donuts is surely one of the neatest. Let’s start with its appearance: It’s a hardcover book but it’s not much bigger than my outstretched hand. It’s also brief and to the point, weighing in at only 128 pages. The price is also nice, at only $9.99. And of course there’s that title; Plastic Donuts. How can a book called Plastic Donuts be about giving? It just makes you want to pick it up and start reading, doesn’t it?
So goes the story that Jeff Anderson, the author, was sitting and working at his desk one day. His daughter, a toddler at the time, came up to his desk and with a smile and a giggle offered Jeff a pink, plastic donut out of her toy kitchen set. Jeff smiled back and gratefully accepted the plastic donut to the delight of his daughter. The exchange blessed Jeff because of the unexpected gift from his daughter and his daughter was delighted by the attention and praise of her father.
Jeff says God opened his eyes through that interaction. Just like that plastic donut that was given to him, God does not need our gifts to get by. God desires our gifts, given from the heart, because it blesses both the giver and the receiver. Likewise, God delights in giving His children gifts out of the pure joy of giving. And God has been giving gifts to us out of his great love and joy since the very beginning of the creation story. (Imagine what the Garden of Eden must have been like before the fall!)
In Plastic Donuts, Jeff looks at giving from a scriptural point of view and does a fantastic job of condensing a lot of information into a very natural, easy to understand guide that just about anyone should be able to pick up and read.
Jeff’s main points for the book are: What we give needs to matter to us and We determine the amount and he gives ample scriptural basis for both. What we give needs to matter to us because it needs to be given out of love and in honor of God and we determine the amount because there is no set amount for a gift.
I can hear some of you thinking “but what about the tithe!” and I can assure you that Jeff does a great job addressing the tithe. The long and short of it is this: the tithe is primarily for the maintenance of the local body (the church) and yes, God does expect his children to give of their time and finances to maintain his church. Tithing is important, but it isn’t all there is.
An interesting point about the tithe Jeff discovered from his research: mentions of the tithe in the Bible account for only 2 percent of the total of all that the Bible has to say about giving. In other words, by focusing on the tithe we are effectively ignoring 98% of what God has to say about giving. Let’s not make that mistake. Let’s read and understand all of what God’s Word has to say so that we can give Him the glory that He is due.
On a personal level, I really value this little book for the insight that Jeff shares through it and I learned some things about giving that really blessed me. I hope that you get an opportunity to read it, because I know that it will bless and instruct you also.
For more information on this topic, check out author Jeff Anderson’s website at acceptablegift.org and be sure to read his interview over at Beyond Evangelical.
- ISBN-13: 9781601425287
- Publisher: The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
- Publication date: 5/21/2013
- Pages 128