Scriptures

Giving

Introduction

Let me begin by saying that God does not take pleasure from a collection. God takes pleasure from an offering. Now we can ask, what is the difference?

Well, a collection is when we go and do everything we want to do, you take care of all our passions and desires and if there is anything left over, we give it to the Lord, that’s a collection. An offering is when we take the very best we have and we honour God with the first fruits and say, “God, your first in my life, I’m going to bow down and lay this at your feet, this is my best treasure and it’s for your glory.”

I did a little study with the word ‘worship’ and I found something interesting. The first time the word ‘worship’ is used in the Old Testament is in Genesis 22 when Abraham was about to offer Isaac up to the Lord on a mountain and says to his servants, ‘I’m going go up to that mountain and worship God.’

And the first time the word ‘worship’ is used in the New Testament is in Matthew 2 when wise men bring gold and incense and myrrh and they lay it at the feet of the baby and they kneel and they worship him.

And so, we are introduced in the Old Testament and in the New Testament to this very important truth and that is worship of God, is bringing our very best to God and laying it at His feet to honour and praise Him.

When it comes to our offering each Lord’s day, no-one would ever say during a worship service, ‘Now we interrupt our worship for those who would like to give’!

The apostle Paul understood that giving is in fact pure worship, Philippians 4:18. God receives pleasure from our giving.

Why?

Because when we give, we are most like Christ. When Paul said that money given to people to preach the Gospel is like giving to God he said, ‘it’s a fragrant offering and an acceptable sacrifice’.

Now ask yourself, where have you heard him use those words before? Ephesians 5:2. Do you realise that when you share your treasure and you give generously for the kingdom, you’re doing what Jesus did? You’re making an offering that pleases God. You’re sacrificing just like Christ did.

In fact, I want you to know that every pound you own has a smell. Every pound you own either has a fragrant aroma to God or a rotten stench because it was either used for His glory or used for selfish passions.

The way we give is an indication of our love for God. All things belong to God, Psalm 50:10. Everything we have received has come from God. God has only loaned them to us, John 3:27. We can never out-give God, Luke 6:38.

We give so the Lord’s church can better carry out its mission here on earth. The world must be evangelised, and the church must be edified, and the needy must be helped.

Giving is a command of God

Many people go to the following passage to make a point about giving, 1 Corinthians 16:1-2. Some people use this text as the command for giving, but this isn’t necessary correct.

Our example and command for giving actually comes from the Book of Acts.

‘They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to the prayer.’ Acts 2:42

‘The Fellowship’ is the Greek word ‘koinonia’ and it carries with it the idea of giving and receiving and since the early Christians practiced this, this is where we get our authority to give on the first day of the week.

We see the giving in 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 was to help the poor saints in Jerusalem. Notice also they were to make a regular collection every first day of the week.

Because of everything God has given us, including His Son to die for us, we should be anxious to give back to Him.

‘For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.’ 1 Corinthians 8:12

God expects us to give what we are able to give.

How can our love for God be real unless it is expressed in our obedience and our giving?

Our giving is an expression of love, and act of praise, and sacrifice to God. How we give is an indication of where our priorities are.

Jesus says in Matthew 6:19-21, ‘Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth and rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.’ Matthew 6:19-21

Where is your heart?

Since we can’t out-give God, but we should at least be liberal in our giving.

‘He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So, let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.’ 2 Corinthians 9:6-7

Our giving is to be planned. We should not give because we feel we have to give. Nor should we resent that we need to give to please God. We should be glad that we can give to the Lord.

We should never try to impress other people with our giving. If we do, we already have our reward. Giving needs to be a private matter and we should not seek recognition for the things we do, Matthew 6:1-4.

We should seek the approval of God and not the glory of men. Our giving should not only include material possessions but we must first give ourselves to God, Romans 12:1.

If we will first give ourselves to the Lord, 2 Corinthians 8:5, we will have no problem in being liberal in our giving. Remember Jesus saw what the widow gave in her offering into the temple treasury, Luke 24:1-4, so He still sees what we offer today.

 

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted."

Isaiah 53:4

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