Because God gives generously, we should give generously (1 Timothy 6:17-19). God wants us to be generous. And when we are, God seems to multiply our resources, enabling us to give even more. This principle of increase is found throughout the Scriptures (Luke 6:38, Proverbs 3:9-10, 2 Corinthians 9:6-11). Giving is a supernatural way to bring increase to your finances. From a secular perspective, getting ahead by giving doesn’t make any sense, but God says that if you do it, he will bless you.
When it comes to giving, you should prayerfully ask God to show you how much to give, where to give, and when to give. And just as importantly, God wants your attitude about giving to be cheerful. He wants you to actually enjoy giving (2 Corinthians 9:7)! Based upon your income, your giving should be generous. This is highly subjective; however, it is a good starting point in making decisions about charitable contributions. You could ask yourself this question: Based upon how God has blessed me, am I a truly generous giver? It is important to recognize that your giving accomplishes three things: it acknowledges God, it helps the needy, and it spreads the gospel.
Giving Acknowledges God – Giving starts with God. God is the ultimate owner of all that we possess. There is nothing that exists that did not come from God. Therefore, all that you have comes from him. Your ability to give comes only because you have something and that something came from God (Psalm 24:1). By giving a portion of what you have to God, you are acknowledging that he is the owner of it all. The greater the blessing we have received, the greater the proportion we should give. God blesses us differently. But to whom much is given, much is required (Deuteronomy 16:10).
In I Corinthians 16, we find four principles which should guide our giving to the local church:
- Giving is to be systematic. Paul suggested putting aside money at the first of every week. The idea is that our giving should be regular and planned as opposed to irregular and spur-of-the-moment.
- Giving is to be personally determined. It is not to be imposed from without. You should prayerfully determine the amount you want to systematically give.
- Giving is to be proportionate with how God has blessed us. The standard by which our contribution is judged by God is in relation to what we have, not what we don’t have. What is a generous amount for me might not be a generous amount for you, and vice versa.
- Giving is the responsibility of all. “Let each one of you….” We cannot file for an exemption!
Giving Helps the Needy – Taking care of the needy is not a new idea created by the government. Charity is God’s idea. God is compassionate and he wants his people to care for the poor and needy. The Bible teaches us to give generously to the poor (Deuteronomy 15:11). In fact, did you know that when you give to the poor, when you extend hospitality to the needy, you are really giving to God (Matthew 25:37- 40)? As important as it is to give to the physical needs of others, God cares most deeply about where individuals will spend eternity: with him or without him. And that brings us the third thing that our giving accomplishes: it helps spread the Gospel.
Giving Spreads the Gospel – Mankind is afflicted with a spiritual malady called “sin.” Everyone has it. If untreated, it leads to eternal spiritual death. This malady is so great, it required Jesus’ death to remedy it. God cares so much about our souls that he gave his only son (John 3:16). Giving financial support to ministries that spread the gospel, the good news about Jesus, is another way of giving to those things that God cares deeply about. In fact, Paul thanked the Philippian church for their support of his gospel ministry (Philippians 1:3-5). You can give cheerfully because you know that are helping people come to have a personal relationship with God that will transform their eternity.
Let’s determine to take the time this week to pray and meditate about our financial generosity and listen to God’s voice in this critical area.
APPLICATION / CHALLENGE
- Become a generous giver.
- Believe that God will give an increase as you give.
- Do what God shows you to do in regards to giving.
TAKE ONE STEP
Each week, write down one doable concrete step of obedience, small or large that you will put into practice this week. (James 1:22: “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”)