Scriptures

Giving

Introduction

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

Well, a collection is when you go and do everything you want to do, you take care of all your passions and desires and if there is anything left over you give it to the Lord, that’s a collection. An offering is when you take the very best and you honour God with the first fruits and you 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 1st 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 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 your very best to God and laying it at his feet to honour and praise him.

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. And so, he said in Philippians 4:18,

“Listen, those gifts you gave to me, they weren’t just to me, and they are a fragrant offering an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.”

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 “Live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

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. God says in Psalms 50:10,

“For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.”

Everything we have received has come from God. God has only loaned them to us. John 3:27 says,

“A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from above.”

We can never out-give God.

In Luke 6:38 we read,

“Give and it shall be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

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 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 where we read,

“Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also. On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper that there be no collections when I come.”

And they use this text as the command for giving, but this isn’t necessary correct.

Our command for giving actually comes from 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. In 2 Corinthians 8:12 we read,

“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.”

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.”

Where is your heart?

Since we can’t out-give God, we should at least be liberal in our giving. As we read in 2 Corinthians 9:6-7,

“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.”

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. We should not seek recognition for the things we do.

Jesus says in Matthew 6:1-4,

“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen of them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.”

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. We are told in Romans 12:1,

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”

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 put into the temple treasury, so He still sees today, Luke 24:1-4.

 

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers."

1 John 3:16

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