God loves a cheerful giver. Maybe you’ve heard that before. Maybe you feel instantly put off by it, or even offended by it. After all, if God is so rich, why does He need our money? And can’t He see that I’m up to my eyeballs in debt? I’ll give when I’m rich and can afford to do it, right? Wrong. It’s even more important to give when you’re struggling to make ends meet. Here’s a few reasons why:
We Give Because of What We’ve Been Given
As I’ve said on this blog a few times, the view that my wife and I hold towards money is that it’s a gift from God. He is the One who has placed us where we are in life and given us what we have, including our jobs, our apartment, our clothing, our food, our cars, and especially our marriage. Who are we to clench our fists on payday and scream, “MINE!” like a toddler who doesn’t want to share? We’ve been given the amazing blessing of being born into one of the wealthiest countries in the world, and we feel that the most appropriate response to that is to be ready and willing to give wherever we can and whenever we can.
We Give Because It Realigns Our Perspective
R and I are in debt. A lot of debt. But you know what? We have a place to sleep at night. We have food in our refrigerator. We have clothes to wear, and laundry machines to wash those clothes when they get dirty. There are millions of people around the world that can’t say those sentences. Our giving is a way to remind ourselves of the fact that our situation could be much, much more dire. And hopefully, our giving helps some of those people in those situations get out of them. Could we get out of debt sooner if we didn’t give until we’re “better able” to do so? Sure. But something happens when you decide you can’t help someone else. Your life becomes all about you. You become self-centered, because that’s what all your money goes to. You forget about others that need help, and you become callous to their needs. Giving while we’re in debt reminds us that our debt isn’t the worst thing in the world.
We Give Because It Forces Us To Rely On God
Since we’re on Baby Step 2 of our Total Money Makeover, we have $1,000 in our savings account. That’s not a lot. I just took my car in for what I thought was going to be a $200 repair and had to fork over $700 in order to get the keys back. Good thing we had it! But here’s the thing: Like I said, our money is a gift from God, and He has said He will be faithful in supplying what we need when we need it (Philippians 4:19 – And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. More on that “according to His riches” part in a minute.). Times like that, where we’re unexpectedly pulling from that emergency fund, drive both of us to our knees in prayer, and they are some sweet, sweet times. God wants us to rely on Him, not on our bank accounts. If we were to quit giving and stockpile a bunch of cash, our trust would go to the numbers on the computer screen, not to the God of our salvation.
We Give Because It Pleases God
Ah, here we go. Here’s where I tell you that God needs your money, and you should write a check right away to whoever’s on TV right now. Nah, not really. Look with me at Psalm 50:10-12 real quick, where God is talking: For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine. God created the world. Literally, created it. Do you think He needs our money? When Paul wrote to the Philippians in the last section, this is what he meant when he said, “According to His riches.” God’s riches include the whole universe! It’s out of those riches that He has promised to provide for us. God doesn’t need our money. He wants the change that comes about when we give. Giving makes us generous people. Giving makes us compassionate people. Giving makes us selfless people. That’s what God wants for His people.
We Give Because We’re Told To Give
The bible is not silent on the topic of giving by any means.
- Deuteronomy 15:7-8 – If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be.
- Proverbs 11:24-25 – One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.
- Proverbs 21:26 – [T]he righteous gives and does not hold back.
- Proverbs 22:9 – Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor.
- Proverbs 28:27 – Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse.
- Luke 3:11 – And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.”
- Luke 6:30 – Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back.
- 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 – The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.
- James 2:15-16 – If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?
I think that’s pretty clear, don’t you? God says we’re to give, so we give.
What Does Giving Look Like?
Here’s where you’re going to get a thousand different answers if you ask a thousand different people. Many Christians hold to the tithe as the basis for giving to the local church. My wife and I (and our church, for that matter) do not. We believe the tithe was part of the Old Testament law of the temple, which we’re no longer under. So we give according to 2 Corinthians 9:7, as we have purposed in our heart and as we are able. We are always able to give something, but it may not always be exactly 10% of our income. If you don’t go to a church, consider a local charity of some kind that helps those people I talked about earlier in the post, the ones that rely on the generosity of those of us that can afford to help for food, shelter, and clothing. Don’t forget that things other than money can be donated for the good of those around you. Time, the use of vehicles, clothing, your home, all can be put to use to make an impact in someone else’s life. Just keep Matthew 6:2-4 in mind: Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Giving is supposed to be done to benefit other people, not your own reputation. Don’t put it off until you’re in a “better place to help.” Something will always come up and put that someday off. Start now, and make a difference in your life and the lives of those in your community.