One time a skeptic said to a preacher, “I can’t stand this Christianity business. All I ever hear from you Christians is give, give, give.” The preacher thought a minute and said, “That’s about the best description of Christianity I have ever heard!”
“I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc, is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our giving does not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our giving excludes them.” – CS Lewis
Giving is indeed a proper description of Christianity, or, at least, it should be. If you take time to really think about it, it makes perfect sense. Our whole identity as Christians should revolve around that word, giving of ourselves when others are in the midst of struggle, giving of our treasures when they have exceeded or needs, giving of talents when our knowledge might benefit another.
When Mary anointed oil on Jesus’ head she gave all she had so that Jesus could give all He had. When Jesus hung on the cross he gave His very life so that we might live eternally. When God’s love overflowed, He gave us life so that we might be in relationship with Him so that He could keep on giving.
Yet, just because giving helps define the Christian, it should never be done as a vehicle for works righteousness. Giving should be born of faith and understanding. 2 Corinthians 9:7 makes certain God’s desire, “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
Giving should come about from a desire to share the many things God has provided us. God’s gifts were not meant to hoard but to distribute. His greatest desire is that we would think of others when we have the chance to give. From Acts 20:35, “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
And God goes on to promise that your giving will not be forgotten by Him. From Malachi 3:10, “Bring in the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put Me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.”
But the giving must come from the right place. For those who give and expect riches in return for their effort, they will be sorely disappointed. God is not a Genie who can be manipulated. Yet, He has promised to be generous to the faithful knowing that cheerful giving comes by faith.
God says, “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” (2 Corinthians 9:6). That’s because giving provides more for you than a pat on the back. It provides riches in joy, peace, service and gratitude. It allows you to center your life on more important things than what you accumulate for yourselves. It allows you to be Christ to the world.
Share what God has given you with a generous heart. Give those things that go beyond your needs. Be cheerful in the understanding that God will never forget all you have done in His name. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, forgive us when we have used Your many gifts to us only to satisfy ourselves. Give us a willing heart to be a cheerful giver. Instill in us the desire to do more in Your name. Amen.