One of the most prominent themes in the New Testament is that of giving. We find multiple verses that challenge us to be generous – which is a very good thing! The problem is that it can sometimes be intimidating to simply dive into these scriptures, especially if we’re new to the idea of giving.
The reason it can be intimidating is because giving can seem unnatural at times. For someone who has never provided financial support for those in need or has never set aside a portion of your income to give away, the very thought of living on an even tighter budget can seem scary.
It doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, Jesus himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
The way you approach giving will greatly shape your view on being generous, so it’s important to first look at WHY Christians should give.
Why Should Christians Give?
Put simply, it blesses God when we are generous. It’s an act of worship; it’s a way we can show love to others; it develops character within the giver.
Giving as an Act of Worship
What does it really mean to worship? The original word was a variant of weorthscipe, which meant to give worth to something. The way we spend our money is a direct reflection of what we view as valuable. We are essentially saying, “this is worth the cost, so I will put my resources towards it.”
When we give with the intent to further God’s Kingdom, we are actively showing God that we find Him worthy of our resources. (Which, by the way, are His resources anyways.) It’s no wonder why Jesus said in Matthew 6:21 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will also be.”
Giving as an Act of Love
Giving is so important that Paul found a way to squeeze it into the love chapter of Corinthians. In chapter 13 verse 3, Paul says
“If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.”
It really doesn’t matter if you give anything at all if you’re not doing it out of love. By love, I mean the following: being patient and kind, not envious, not boastful, not prideful, not rude, not self-seeking, not easily angered, not holding to bitterness.
Giving to Develop Character
A third aspect of giving that is important to understand is how it shapes your character – for the better!
1 Timothy 6:18-19 says “Command them to do good, to be generous and willing to share. 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”
When we give freely, we can experience the joy that comes from it and take hold of true life. From the scriptures, it’s easy to see that a generous life lets us experience true life. In fact, God loved the world so much that he gave his son so that we might experience eternal life.
The Most Important Aspect of Giving
It’s easy to make excuses and try to find reasons not to tithe or give to others. When it comes down to it, I think one verse gives an excellent foundation for how we should give.
2 Corinthians 9:7 “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
Giving isn’t something we should ever feel forced to do. It takes time to develop an attitude of giving, but as you do, you’ll find that being a cheerful giver will give you a life that is full of joy.
How would you encourage someone who wants to give, but isn’t sure if they can afford to give?