Let's Rethink ... Giving
Sacrificial giving is a normal part of life for disciples of Jesus Christ.
When people realise that Jesus is God, who took a human body to suffer for their sins, they are amazed. As they repent and start to follow Him, they see how much He has given them.
As the Creator, He has given us life and a very pleasant planet to live on. He gives us health and strength, abilities, friends, relations, salvation, a purpose in this life and unending life to come. We come into the world with nothing and we leave it with nothing (except our relationship with Him). And in between birth and death, He gives us everything we need – but also expects us to share it with others.
In the Old Testament, God’s people had to give a tithe (a tenth) of their income to the priests who were to use it for the Lord’s work. And special offerings were given in addition to the tithe, as a way of giving thanks.
The New Testament does not demand that we give a set amount, but says that everything we have belongs to Him – we are just trustees. He has ownership rights over all of it!
And so a part of normal discipleship is learning to give as much as He asks from what He has entrusted to us. We give hospitality, money, time, skills, lifestyle and (in severe persecution) even our lives.
We are not called to give God the ‘leftovers’ but the ‘first-fruits’. He does not ask us to give only what we can afford; He prompts us to give whatever He knows will glorify Himself, bless others and bring joy to us.
However many Christians get so worried that they might not have enough if they give to the Lord, that they never dare to ask the question, “What do you want me to give”?
But that is the question every true disciple should ask! The answer may not just be money, but it will always include money. And the answer will always involve a sacrifice.
The way Jesus commended the poor widow who gave her last two copper coins, gives us the clue that He is looking not so much on what we give but on what we keep for ourselves. That is the uncomfortable bit.
But, think about it … Romans 8:32 says, “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” This verse tells how much God sacrificed for us, and yet He also promises to keep on giving all we need. If that is so, we can afford to keep sacrificing, because He will keep providing.
So it is time to re-think ‘giving’. Giving is not what others do because they can afford it, but what we all do because we have been given so much and trust God to keep on supplying all our needs.
So dare to ask the question, “Lord, what do you want me to give?” As you keep on asking, the Holy Spirit will prompt you and you will know the answer; and it will be a sacrifice. Then decide to do it, and do it without delay!
© Dr Paul Adams 2012