FoundationsForGrowing

Developing Commitment: Giving

by Joanna Pierce on March 03, 2016

It is important to learn certain discipleship principles in our daily walk with the Lord. This week, we will focus on an important aspect of discipleship, which reflects every other area of our spiritual development: giving.

Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God (II Corinthians 8:1–5, KJV).

The act of giving is followed by many benefits in God’s kingdom—these benefits extend to our personal lives as well as to others. In this setting of Scripture, we learn when the church gave, they discovered the key to giving: giving yourself to the Lord first.

Money is a difficult concept for most of us. Money is personal—it says something about us and it changes us. Our giving and view of money reveals our level of spiritual maturity. If we are undisciplined in our giving, this is an indicator of unsurrendered areas in our spiritual life. If we cannot follow God’s Word regarding giving, we will create a breach in the “spiritual wall” in our life (Proverbs 25:28). We must be disciplined in our spiritual walk with God, and this will affect how we give.

Three Types of People

There are three types of people when it comes to money: 1) those who respect it, 2) those who ignore and squander it, and 3) those who worship it and serve it. All three of these instances will apply to anyone who either has a lot or a little money. The amount of the money isn’t the issue; how we view or interact what God has blessed us with does!

We need to be leaders in the spirit of giving just like other areas in our spiritual life (II Corinthians 8:7). The Bible mentions giving more than heaven or hell. Over half of the parables Jesus told in the Gospels had to do with money. The devil would like nothing better than to keep us from discovering God’s principles of giving and how it affect our discipleship.

God responds to our giving with a blessing or curse. Regardless of what we choose, there will be a supernatural response. Our goal is to determine what God’s Word says about giving and make up our minds to give.

Three Reasons We Should Give

It’s Commanded

We are commanded to bring our tithes into the storehouse (Malachi 3:10). A tithe is a tenth of our increase (income), and we are commanded to return it back to God. If we’re obedient in returning our tithes, we will be blessed with such an increase we won’t be able to contain it!

Returning the tithe to the Lord is a test of our faithfulness. We are only returning what belongs to God anyway. Tithing was practiced in the Old Testament all the way to the New Testament. Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek (Genesis 14:20) and Jesus spoke to the Pharisees regarding tithing (Matthew 23:23). We’re told to set something aside for the Lord on a regular basis (I Corinthians 16:2). Giving is not an option—if we are a follower of Christ, we will be obedient and give.

It’s Rewarded

There is a heavenly response when we give. We can “rob” God when we don’t return the tithe and bless others with an offering (Malachi 3:8). God gives so much to us—we cannot be unfaithful in our giving! If we give bountifully, we will be blessed (Proverbs 22:9, 11:25), and He will give back to us pressed down, shaken together, and running over (Luke 6:38).

The law of the harvest mentioned in Scripture is our ability to harvest what we plant, harvest after we plant, and then harvest more than what we plant. God’s blessings are worth more than money could ever be in this life! If we give sparingly, we will reap sparingly (II Corinthians 9:6)—we must give beyond the tithe and give out of our abundance. Giving must be from the heart and be done willingly (II Corinthians 9:7). When we help those who are in need, they are not only helped, but God gets the glory for it!

If we can learn to give, we will build up a good, solid spiritual foundation in our life. Our giving will help us seek the eternal things, and help us come closer to grasping the treasure laid up for us in heaven (I Timothy 6:18).

It’s Natural

God created man with the ability to give. We serve a God who is a giver and we are made in His image (Genesis 1:27). We are to be like our Creator—we are called to give! God set the ultimate example of giving and sacrifice when He laid down His life for all mankind (John 3:16). God created man with a choice to give or to keep. If we call ourselves followers of Jesus, He should never have to assault or beg us to give to His kingdom. Our attitude should never be, “how much do I have to give?” Our attitude should be, “what can I give to the Lord and others?”

Three Reasons Why We Don’t Give

We Don’t Understand God’s Purpose for Money in Our Life

God doesn’t need money. The principle for money (regardless of measurement) is a resource that God placed in our life to see what we will do with it. We need to understand that any money (or possession) doesn’t belong to us—it all belongs to Him! God poured out wealth in the Old Testament to usher His people into the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 8:17–18) and He used it in the New Testament, as well as today, to usher the church into His spiritual kingdom.

We are only called to be the manager (steward) of what God has placed in our life. King David understood that money didn’t belong to the people or even himself. It all belonged to God! When people gave, they were blessed (I Chronicles 29:11–14). We have to get out of the mindset that money is “ours.” We should be glad that we can say God blessed us with the ability to have money pass through our hands to others! We need to honor the Lord with our money. He is asking for a small portion back and blessing us with the rest!

We are Negligent

We are too undisciplined with our finances. We don’t know where our money goes half of the time. We might find ourselves saying too often, “I want to give, but I can’t because…” There should never be an excuse as to why we cannot give. Our “because” is an idol we need to get rid of from our life. God has given us the ability to give—if we can’t give, it’s a problem we need to fix!

We have the idea that if we had more money life would be easier. But, if we have more money, it is easier to get our life out of balance. The more money we have, the harder we have to work at being disciplined with it. God will never give us more money if we can’t handle what we have. “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:24, KJV). We need to remember it’s impossible to be out of balance financially and be balanced in our relationship with God. We need to be a good steward of the blessings God has placed in our life!

We are Rebellious

We have a love of money in us and we don’t want to give. God has told us plainly in Scripture we need to give. We must realize that God’s principle of giving is different from what the world has determined: gain is loss and loss is gain (Matthew 16:25). God wants His people to give! We need to lose out on things in this world so that we gain Christ (Philippians 3:8). He is what really matters. When we understand that God will always give back, we can get over our fear and rebellion of not wanting to let go of our finances. We need to be obedient to the Word of the Lord—give!

Ways to Give

God has called us to give willingly, cheerfully, and sacrificially. We can see examples of this all throughout Scripture and the result of giving. If we are struggling with giving today, we can pray and ask God to show us how we can be obedient to Him in our finances, and to help us see the blessing that is in store for us when we give.

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on March 02, 2016