God is a giver. From the first page of the Bible all the way to the end, you’ll see that giving is an important part of God’s character. Out of his great love for us, God has given us life, provision for our needs, and blessings too many to count. Most importantly, God gave us His Son to save us from our sin. If we want to follow God’s example –if we want to be like Jesus– we will be givers too.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights… James 1:17
God wants us to give. God’s Word lets us know that we are God’s plan for helping to meet the needs of the poor, the hurting, and the forgotten in our world. We are also called by God to give to help support the church and the pastors who lead it, so that the church can be effective in fulfilling God’s commission to share the Good News and make disciples both here and around the world.
What makes giving hard for us is usually because we forget who our money really belongs to. Everything we have –everything we receive and earn– really belongs to God. We are really just His money managers here on earth. God trusts us to use what He gives us for His purposes; to manage His wealth wisely on His behalf. This means making careful financial decisions, taking care of our families, and, yes, being faithful to give.
But just as you excel in everything –in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us– see that you also excel in this grace of giving.
II Corinthians 8:7
God wants us to trust Him in our giving. You might be thinking, “I’d like to give, but I just can’t afford to.” It’s true, money is often tight, and giving seems difficult, even impossible at times. And, if you are waiting until the end of the month to see if there’s any money left to give, it probably is impossible! But following the Biblical pattern for giving can help. God’s Word simply says that we should give to God first, and then trust Him to provide for our needs. If this seems difficult to you, then we’d encourage you to test God, and see if He doesn’t come through for you. Start small, if that helps, and make the first “payment” you make from your paycheck a gift back to God. Then do your best to carefully spend the rest. God promises to honor our obedience in giving first by taking care of us and meeting our needs. As you see God be faithful to you, hopefully your trust in Him will increase and your faith in Him will grow.
God wants us to give from our heart. There are a lot of reasons that people give. Some give out of guilt or because of pressure put on them. Others give because they want to be recognized and praised by those around them. God’s Word warns about giving for the wrong reasons. With God, the motives of your heart are always the most important. It isn’t about the money (God doesn’t need your money; He’s God!). God is always most concerned about the condition of your heart. In the Bible, God criticizes those who give generously only to be seen by others, but praises the one who gives back to God as an act of worship. God’s desire is that we would give to Him out of our gratitude to Him –not because we have to, but because we want to.
Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. II Corinthians 9:7