UNDERSTANDING GIVING BIBLICALLY (PART XII)
By Akin Ojumu
Last time, we highlighted the Christian attitude towards God’s resources. We also described the categories of stewardship of money i.e., how we feel about it, how we earn it, how we spend it, and how we give it away. We now turn our attention to the principles of giving as stipulated in the New Testament.
Freewill Giving in the New Testament
There are 10 principles that the New Testament does give for Christian giving. We'll discuss 5 of them today, and the rest next time.
Principle 1: Giving is Investing with God
Luke 6:38 – “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
At the heart of Christian giving is this very fact. Giving is investing with God and the return is an eternal yield, an eternal dividend. God’s stock always rises, it never fluctuates or flutters. His return on investment (ROI) is incredibly high. Massive dividends accrue on whatever you invest with God. Whatever is not invested with God yields zero returns.
Matthew 6:19. “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth.”
In other words, be sure that your priority is investing with God, because wherever you put your treasure that’s where you're going to put your heart.
Principle 2: Giving is to be Sacrificial
Mark 12:44 – “For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.”
It isn’t the amount you give, it is what it’ll cost you to give it. The poor widow only had an eighth of a penny left and she gave it all. It was significant because she gave everything, and you can’t give any more than everything. Sacrifice is the essence of giving. And the ultimate sacrifice would be to give everything.
Principle 3: Giving is not a Matter of How Much You Own
Luke 16:10 – “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much. And he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.”
People often say, “If I only had more, I would give more.” That's really a cop out – the cheap excuse of the miserly. If you are not giving sacrificially with the little you have, you are not going to give conveniently if the entire world belongs to you.
2 Corinthians 8:1-2 – “And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.”
The Macedonians didn't have much, but they gave liberally. Giving is a matter of the heart. It's a matter of the sacrifice that you are willing to render toward God.
Principle 4: Giving Determines Spiritual Riches
Luke 16:11-12 – “So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?”
If you can't handle money, which is earthly riches, God is not going to give you spiritual riches to handle. If you don't handle money wisely, you will never be given spiritual responsibility, that's what He's saying.
The resources that you have are not yours, They are God's. He gave them to you and committed them into your hands as a trust. If you do not handle that earthly riches wisely, then God will never give you the true riches. Spiritual responsibilities are not entrusted into the hands of those who cannot handle temporal resources.
If you want God to give you spiritual responsibility i.e., the true riches, then prove that you can handle earthly riches by not letting them own you.
Principle 5: How Much You Give Is Your Choice
2 Corinthians 9:7 – “You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”
Giving must be done spontaneously out of love and gratitude, not out of some law or compulsion. Whatever you give must be individually determined. It's between you and God, out of a thankful heart. We are to give cheerfully out of a willing heart. That’s all God says.
We'll discuss the remaining 5 principles next time.