Principles of Giving
This question is often asked of church members, “Why is giving important?”
Below are 12 things that we as Christians should remember in regards to giving.
1. As Christians, when we give, we are more like God. John 3:16 states, “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son.” God is a giver. He gave us life. He gave us this world to enjoy. He gave his only Son so that we might have a relationship with Him. That most famous of verses shows us the connection between loving and giving. You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.
2. When we give, we are drawing closer to God. Matthew 6:21 states, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” When we put our money, our time, our efforts, our thinking, our lives…that’s where our heart will be. So where do we want our heart? If we want to be more like God, then we will also want to be closer to God. When we give out of a heart of love and compassion, we will find ourselves next to God’s heart also.
3. When we give, we are actually strengthening our faith. Proverbs 3:5 states, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Nothing strengthens our faith more than giving when we don’t understand how in the world we can possibly do so. Giving the way God gives and the way He wants us to give goes beyond budgeting. It requires faith. The more we give, the stronger your faith will become. This is true because we discover that we cannot out give God. The more we give, the more he provides us the ability to give. “Give and it will be given to you… For the measure you use it will be measured back to you,” Luke 6:38. The giving of our money and material possessions is the only place in the Bible where God literally says I dare you.
4. Giving is an investment in eternity. I Timothy 6:18-19 states, “Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”
I have two sons who are financial planners. They prepare estate plans for passing wealth on to succeeding generations. Let me assure you that this one thing is true…you will never see a U-Haul following a hearse. We are not taking anything with us. We cannot send anything on ahead of us. Our eternal reward is determined by what we do here. Being faithful and generous in our earthly giving is piling treasure up in our heavenly home.
5. Giving reveals our spiritual maturity. “But just as you excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us – see that you also excel in this grace of giving,” 2 Corinthians 8:7. Ultimately, giving is more about our spiritual maturity than it is about the actual gift. Our finances are the last part of our personal life that we will release in trust to God. We hold on to our money and our wealth as a form of security. We cannot trust in God and trust in our money at the same time. Giving is the discipline of learning to trust God, and it reveals to us the truth of our spiritual maturity.
6. Giving helps us to understand that it all belongs to Him. Our whole sense of perspective is off-base when it comes to our possessions and wealth. We may think that we are the owners and that we give or not give (our choice) out of what belongs to us. Any sense of ownership is an illusion. We are not the owner, God is. Everything was created by God and returns to God. Read the parable of the talents found in Matthew 25:14-30.
7. Giving is being obedient to God. “There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore, I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land,” Deut. 15:11. 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 states, “Now about the collection for God’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. On the first day of every week, each of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.” It is plain that God was telling His people that we are responsible for taking care of the poor among us. Not government assistance or welfare, but God’s people taking care of God’s people.
8. Giving is God’s plan to finance His Kingdom. Leviticus 27:30 says, “A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord: it is holy to the Lord.” In Malachi 3:10, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this”, says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of Heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” These verses and others make it clear that we as Christians are responsible for giving the tithe (one tenth of our income) to the church to support God’s work in our world through the church. Being faithful in giving comes with a promise. Psalm 37:25 says, “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.” For those who are generous in giving, Psalm 112:5-6 says, “Good will come to him who is generous and lend freely, who conducts his affairs with justice. Surely he will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered forever.”
9. Giving is a way of gaining self-discipline. Proverbs 21:26 states, “All day long he craves for more, but the righteous give without sparing.” When giving becomes a part of our lifestyle, we learn that discipline and delayed gratification is important to our lives.
10. Giving follows Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 7:12, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” If we were down and out, we would hope that folks would give so that we can get back up on our feet. When we give, we are helping those who cannot help themselves.
11. Christians are called to live sacrificial lives. Philippians 2:3-4 states, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Paul reminds us that as Christians we are to sacrifice for others. Sometimes God chooses to meet the needs of people through the sacrifice of Christians.
12. Giving keeps us humble. James 4:6 states, “But he gives us more grace. That is why scripture says: ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’”
Humility is the requirement of servanthood and servanthood is the essence of life in the Kingdom. Servanthood focuses on meeting the needs of others.
All scripture references are from NIV