Giving

When I give my two dogs dog food I have a specific bowl for Coco and Itsy. Coco is trained to not eat out of Itsy’s bowl because he eats like a horse. He eats everything there and does not stop thus making himself sick. Itsy is particular about her eating and time. The food has to always be sitting out. So when I place food in both bowls and Itsy goes to eat she cannot see so she eats out of both bowls. Coco stands back watching her eat his food from his bowl mouth watering. But he waits, never fights, growls or anything. Somehow he knows she needs the food more than him. He is actually patient for once. He is giving her what she needs. How beautiful.

“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7

I had an interesting conversation recently about giving. The Bible is full of scriptures about money, giving, etc. So much of the Bible is devoted to this topic. So summarizing this topic in a few words is a bit challenging. But here are some thoughts.

In order to understand giving I like to first acknowledge where the money and provision came from. God is the one who allowed you to earn the money in the first place. He is the ultimate giver of everything you have. Thus you are the steward of the resources you have. To me keeping this mind set is important for giving. When I realize everything I have has been given to me by God it helps me more easily look to God for wisdom on how he would have me allocate the resources. The Bible also gives us wisdom in this matter. There are a couple different types of financial giving discussed in the Bible.

1. Tithe- Christian’s are encouraged to give 10% of their income to the church. Typically it is said that you tithe to the local congregation you are a member and involved. This practice if found all the way back to genesis. It is an act of faith and worship of God. To give up 10% of our earnings to Jesus we are worshiping Jesus rather than money and trusting we can live sufficiently on the remainder. (Read for biblical references Genesis 14:20, Genesis 28:22, Leviticus 27:30-33, Malachi 3:10 and many more)

2. Other giving (charities, giving to poor/needy, support of missionaries, etc) everywhere you look people are asking you to donate money. There are an abundance of charities and organizations. I have to admit I get overwhelmed because I cannot give money to everyone. I would not be able to eat. Plus how do I know that the money is going to a good cause, etc.

Here are some scripture that help me to think through what I should give towards. I also think asking for God’s wisdom through prayer and following the Holy Spirit’s prompting important.

⁃ those that work to share the gospel often give up jobs, financially security, home, family, etc to share Christ love. They work in harsh environments potentially exposing themselves and their families to dangers. To mistreat them, turn them away or not support them is like denying Jesus. (Matthew 10:9-15, Luke 10:2-12) For God’s love and kingdom to be shared we need workers to do the work. They need to be clothed, feed and cared for. There are a variety of ways to do this. Specific individuals ask for support before going out. You can give to missions organizations specifying the person/family, country or just let them decide how the funds are most needed. Churches also have missions boards for caring for those working on the front lines.

⁃ Giving to poor and needy- I think these speak for themselves. I personally have the view, if someone in need, I will do my best to cloth them, feed them and such but I won’t give them money. I will give money to an organization that is dedicated to helping the individual grow as a person so that they can overcome whatever is causing them to be needy or help them find a long term healthy solution. So I will give a homeless person a bag of goods but I would give my money to an organization that is helping people get out of homelessness. Or I will give a friend who is depressed a couch to sleep on and shelter but give my money to an organization that will provide them he medical care and counseling they need. I think you get my point.

“In any of the towns in your land the Lord your God is giving you, if there is anyone poor among you, do not let your heart be hard and not be willing to help him. Be free to give to him. Let him use what is yours of anything he needs.”
-Deuteronomy 15:7-8 (NLV)

“What if a person has enough money to live on and sees his brother in need of food and clothing? If he does not help him, how can the love of God be in him?”
-1 John 3:17 (NLV)

“All those who put their trust in Christ were together and shared what they owned. As anyone had need, they sold what they owned and shared with everyone.”
-Acts 2:44-45 (NLV)

Warning for What Giving Is Not

Giving should come out of a heart of love for God, thankfulness for the resources he has blessed us with and love for other people. When we give to look good, gain attention or be seen in positive light this just reflects the sin in our our heart that says I want to be acknowledged. So rather than worship of Jesus it becomes a tactic to worship self. This is one of the reasons the Bible encourages secretive or anonymous giving. Our giving is not about the amount, it’s about our hearts who are worshiping God.

“Be sure you do not do good things in front of others just to be seen by them. If you do, you have no reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to the poor, do not be as those who pretend to be someone they are not. They blow a horn in the places of worship and in the streets so people may respect them. For sure, I tell you, they have all the reward they are going to get. When you give, do not let your left hand know what your right hand gives. Your giving should be in secret. Then your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
-Matthew 6:1-4 (NLV)

“If I give all my possessions to feed the poor…but do not have love, it profits me nothing.”
-1 Corinthians 13:3 (NLV)

Good luck practicing generosity. Giving is so very rewarding and God is faithful to his children.

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