Monday, September 10, 2007

Right and Wrong Reasons to Give

By: Rachel Olsen, Speaker Team Member

Giving that pleases God is not as much about the amount given as it is about the attitude with which it's done. Jesus highly commended the poor widow who placed but a couple coins in the offering plate (Matthew 12:41-44). He was pleased with her giving because she gave all she had - which takes faith, trust and a heart that is dependent on God.

The Bible lays out both right and wrong reasons to give. Let's take a look at the wrong reasons first. According to the Bible, there are several improper motives for giving:

1. The desire to be noticed by other people. Jesus says that those who give to receive public acclaim for their gifts will forfeit any reward they might have received from God (Matthew 6:1-4).

2. The desire to appear more generous than you are. This seems to be the sin of Ananias and Sapphira, who gave a part of a sum -withholding the rest for themselves - while claiming it was the whole amount (Acts 5:1-11).

3. Giving out of compulsion. "Compulsion" is the state of feeling forced, pressured, or obligated. Paul writes, "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Corinthians 9:7).

So what, according to the Bible, are some right reasons to give?

1. It is a reasonable response of appreciation for all God has done. Paul writes, "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9).

2. It is an act of worship. When we give to others in need, we are actually giving to Christ Himself. Jesus said, "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me'" (Matthew 25:40).

3. It is a command to obey. Jesus (Luke 12:33) and His apostles (2 Corinthians 8:7) told us to give. Although Christian giving is much more than a duty, it is also an act of obedience to our God. After all, the money came from and belongs to Him in the first place.

4. It is a great investment. God promises to reward us for giving with right motives. "In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life" (1 Timothy 6:19).

In summary, when we give away tangible assets to help others in need or to further the Kingdom of God, we are engaging in an act of worship that will ultimately lead to tangible assets for ourselves in eternity. With the right perspective, giving becomes easy!

May we each learn to live as the early church described in Acts 4:32: "All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had."


Sisterlisa said...

I'm so glad I found this site! This message comes at a perfect time for us. We're in the midst of a Missions Conference. My daughter feels the Lord is speaking to her 15 yr old heart about giving, I will have her read this today. Thank you so much!