We are never more like God than when we give. After all, for God so loved the world that He gave…and what did He give? His very best! And we should too because it is one of the best ways to end up being so blessed ourselves. Listen to this great verse:
“In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Ac 20:35 NIV
Giving blesses us. In our fallen nature thinking, we humans sadly think that we are only blessed when we GET all we WANT. But the reality is, we “get” so much more when we choose to give of ourselves to others. I hope you have experienced that amazing sense of righteousness when you have helped someone else, with no ulterior motives. When you simply saw a need and chose to provide for that need without expecting anything in return. This is the heart of giving and what our Lord Jesus is talking about in the verse above. When we give, from a “cheerful heart,” the reward we sense immediately is so much more valuable, and lasting, than any physical thing we could have received. And the bonus? There are future rewards that God intends to bless us with because we have simply obeyed and decided to love Him by loving someone else. You see, in God’s economy, we can never sincerely give without getting so much more in return. It may not be apples for apples, but Scripture guarantees what we receive in return will be both fulfilling and amazing, more than what we could ever have imagined for ourselves.
Motives are vital. God is more interested in WHY we give, rather than WHAT we give. If we truly have begun to grasp the indescribable gift called Salvation that we have been granted? Then how can we keep ourselves back from giving?! We were dead in our sin and God sent Jesus to give us life…but not only resuscitate us here in this world. Jesus gives us Everlasting Life, for here and for forever. Is there really any other thing we can give that will ever come close to comparing with this very undeserved gift? Absolutely NOT! And so because we have been given everything, we begin to show our gratitude by becoming “givers” ourselves. We imitate our most Generous God, by looking for opportunities to be a blessing. Whether this means helping someone carry their groceries to their car, or outright paying for those groceries, we on purpose start looking for ways to use our time, talent and treasures to give. This world is so accustomed to people trying to “take” from them all the time, when we choose to do the opposite, then we are revealing to them God’s Caring Love. People honestly are taken back by a generous heart that is not looking for anything in return. One of the simplest things we can “give” is a compliment. I remember going to a store one day and receiving excellent, above and beyond, service from a young man. As I was checking out, I asked if the manager was available. As he approached me, with this displeased look on his face that said, “Oh no, what happened now?!” I think I quickly shocked him. I said something like, “No, I do not have any complaints. I actually want to tell you about so-and-so who provided amazing service today. I hope you will reward him.” The manager just stood there for a moment, then broke out into a wide, relieved smile and promised he would most definitely make sure he got compensated. See? We Christians must be different than this world and being generous “just because,” is an awesome way to do just that.
Giving back a portion of what God has already given us. Since we are talking about finances this month or so, I must talk about the amazing and powerful principle of tithing. Tithing is giving back to God and His Kingdom 10% of what he has already given us. Here are two of my favorite verses concerning this command…oh and by the way, tithing is a command, not a suggestion, and as I have been saying above, it is meant to benefit us more than others. Listen to Dt 8:18, “But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.” If God did not keep us healthy, if He did not give us talents, if He did not open doors of opportunities for us, would we be able to make a living? We must understand that, whatever job we have, it is only by the Grace of God that we have them, and are able to sustain them. If we do not acknowledge this truth, perhaps we all need to mature in our attitude of gratitude, huh? The second verse I want to point out is this one from 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 there will not be room enough to store it.’” This is the only time in the whole Bible where God challenges us to test Him and His generosity. He promises, if we will simply trust Him and obey, He will take care of us the way He knows will bless us the most. This is what a generous God, and a child of God, does. We look for ways to be a blessing to those around us. When we tithe, we make it possible for God’s Gospel to reach more hearts, and draw them into Eternity so they can be saved and become generous too, and so on and so on goes this lovely cycle.
Giving should be a way of life for us. If you have sincerely received Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then you have already been given every single thing you could ever need and want in this life, and the next. Tithing then should naturally extend from a grateful heart who desires to be as generous as the Loving Father Who gave us His Son. As generous as the perfect, sacrificial Son who gave Himself up for us. And as generous as the Holy Spirit Who continues to transform us into who we were always meant to be. That is a very generous God, and next week I am going to share some examples of how this command of tithing has multiplied blessings in my own life. Multiplied blessings? Wow, I want that! How about you? Then won’t you join me?
Until we meet again, keep lifting your eyes to God, He’s closer than you think.
<>< Peace, Diane