Giving is a natural/human phenomenon. It transcends race, faith, gender and age. Whether a believer, unbeliever, atheist or agnostic – every one gives.
However, there is an attitude/mind-set to giving that is unique to the believer. In essence, his motives and mind-sets for giving are clearly different from that of others. He is a giver by nature and he does so appropriately. When he gives, he gives as one with the mind of God/Christ. This is so because all that he does is essentially informed by the knowledge of God that he has on the inside. He is therefore conscious and particular about how and how well he gives.
The believer understands that God is love and he demonstrates that love in giving. Right from creation, God has been benevolent towards man. We are made to know that God created the earth and all the goodness therein in the first 6 days of creation. He then created man in his own image and GAVE him (man) all the works of His hands. Have dominion over them, God told him. By his act of disobedience, man fell in Eden – sin had created a gap between him and God. Yet God never stopped loving mankind. Actually, right from the beginning, He had begun to perfect the work of salvation for him. To display his love for us yet again, He had to GIVE UP His only begotten son Jesus as propitiation for sins.
So the believer is aware of certain facts about God and GIVING. He knows that:
God is a GIVER by nature
God’s GIVING is borne out of love
God has always being on the GIVING end and never on the receiving end
God’s GIVING is benevolent and sacrificial
God has never GIVEN with an ulterior motive
God GIVES liberally and graciously to ALL
These facts control the believer’s giving culture.
A believer who is deficient in giving is so because he is yet to come to a full awareness/consciousness of who/what God/Christ is and who he is in Christ. He is yet to fully appreciate the love-walk and walk in the same.
Below are three instances of giving in the scriptures. Each instance reflects aspects of CHRISTIAN GIVING worthy of emulation:
This passage gives the account of Jesus’ miraculous feeding of “the five thousand”. Having taught and healed the multitude, he desired that they be fed also. They were however in a lonely place and couldn’t get victuals. A young lad then shows up and offers to give what he had – five barley loaves and two small fishes. Jesus took and blessed what he gave and with it fed the multitude.
Here are salient points to note from the account:
The lad in question positioned himself in a manner that he could give
It’s unlikely that he was the only one who had something to offer. It’s likely that some others had a little of this and that but couldn’t afford to part with it. This lad wasn’t restrained by others’ tightfistedness. He gave anyway.
What he had was barely sufficient for him alone, let alone “five thousand” people. He never could have imagined that Jesus would multiply it. He didn’t hold on to what he had because it was seemingly inadequate. He gave it anyway.
He didn’t give with the hope of getting something in return, either from God or man. He simply gave, in his own little way, to meet a need.
MARK 12: 41-44
In this passage, we find the account of “the widow’s offering”. Jesus was in the temple and was observing how and what people gave. Rich folks came by and dropped what looked like “fat offerings”. Then came a poor widow who threw in two mites (copper coins) into the “offering box”. When Jesus saw what she gave, he commended her to have given more than all others. Why is that so?
The poor widow didn’t give out of what she had. Instead, she gave all she had.
It takes one who has a heart of giving to do what she did. Humanly speaking, she would be justified if she gave less or nothing. After all, she was only a poor widow who had nothing else left.
She refused to let her present financial strait hinder her from giving. She must have known that God is able to meet her needs regardless of what “her bank account” read.
This is a particularly compelling account of Christian manner of giving. It speaks of the benevolence of the Macedonian church. These folks gave generously to the need of others despite their own miserable financial circumstance. Here are certain facts to note about the manner context in which they gave:
These people were experiencing a downturn at the time. They were going through hard times or what we now call “an economic meltdown”.
Humanly speaking, they had every reason not to give.
In the midst of their own hardship, they gave! Their present and temporary state of lack was not an excuse for not giving.
They not only gave, they did so extremely generously and with overflowing joy.
They were WILLING to give and gave even more than they should naturally do.
They were able to give in that manner because they, FIRST OF ALL, gave themselves to the Lord. It began with their HEARTS. One who hasn’t given his WHOLE to God is certain to struggle with giving to others.
In their giving, they exhibited the GRACE OF GOD that was upon them. How that Christ made himself poor that we may become rich. The disposition gives up things for the need of others at the expense of oneself.
Love stimulated them to give.
Herein lies the uniqueness of the believer as a giver:
He has the mind of Christ/God hence would conduct his activities (giving inclusive) as Christ will.
He has a nature that gives and is never compelled before he gives.
His giving is borne out of a heart of love.
He is a sacrificial giver.
He has the right motive and attitude to giving
He doesn’t see God as a money-doubler.
He doesn’t give to get something in return.
He gives purely to meet needs.
He is always willing to give.
He sees giving as an act of worship – a way to honour, reverence, and appreciate God.
He stands in a perpetual position of a blessing to others
He knows it’s more blessed to give than to receive
He knows his well-being is not from material/natural things hence doesn’t allow them limit his ability to give.
Regardless of his financial/material adequacy or inadequacy, he is aware that God is his source and sustenance.
Although he has needs too, he doesn’t allow that to cloud his obligation to meet the needs of others.
Does God honour the giving of a believer? Sure, he does. Is a believer blessed in/by his giving? Absolutely! Should a believer consider giving as a bargaining chip? Definitely not. If you have the habit to give, God will support your habit – Mark Hankins.
Think about these: If God would give/bless ALL men liberally, how much more those who are His children? If God could give us salvation by giving up His only begotten and asking nothing in return, why would he use the trade by barter system as a standard for blessing? Folks who “pay tithes”, give offerings, and give to others just so God can replenish their stocks need their minds renewed. God’s blessings can never be commensurate with what a man gives.
Without a doubt, God desires that his people be blessed. But much more, he desires that his people are also a source of blessing to the body of Christ and to others. One of the tests of a man’s love for God is in his finances – his heart of giving. The more he grows and walks in love, the more he is willing to give. We give because He (God) first gave and always give.
Inherent in believing is giving.
Image Credit: 3XM