The Joy of Giving
I am in the process of writing a Bible study guide called, “The Joy of Giving”. For the next several weeks, I plan to post some thoughts and conclusions from this study on the topic of Biblical giving. I realize that giving is not taught that much in churches today, and I also know that it is increasingly becoming a taboo topic. We all have heard people talk with disgust about a certain church or pastor talking too much about money. Some say that is one of the biggest problems of the Church. There certainly has been much abuse in the area of solicitation of money. However, I could argue that not talking about giving (that comes from the right heart) is one of the biggest problems facing the Church today.
We all know that many churches are financially struggling today due to a decrease in giving. It has also been reported that the Church in America is giving about half of what it did 20 years ago to foreign missions. I know that we have just gone through the Great Recession. But there was greater faithfulness to giving on the part of the Church during the Great Depression than there is today. The reality is that a careful study of giving in the Scriptures shows that the overall spiritual health of God’s people is directly tied to their financial generosity. That is why we can no longer ignore teaching on the topic.
God promises to bless those who give. We live in a world where “taking” is much more popular that “giving”. People flock to books and seminars that tell us how we can get more out of this world. Most of the developed countries of the world today are embracing an “entitlement” society where everyone is trying to get as much as they can out of their governments. There is a spirit of “taking” today that will eventually destroy us. This same spirit is creeping into the Church. Churches find themselves competing against one another trying to present the best package of programs to draw people. People are more concerned about what they “get” from church than they are about what they are giving. Jesus said it clearly, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).
Note just a few things that happen as a result of giving:
The windows of heaven will open and be poured out upon us with blessings that overflow. Malachi 3:10
Our barns will be filled with plenty. Proverbs 3:11
Blessing will pour into our laps. Luke 6:38
Grace will abound to us, so that we will have abundance for every good deed.
II Corinthians 9:8
Our seed for sowing will be multiplied. II Corinthians 9:10
The harvest of our righteousness will be increased. II Corinthians 9:10
We will be enriched in everything. II Corinthians 9:11
What Christian would not want to be blessed in such ways as just described? And these are just a few phrases mentioned. A more careful study of these and other passages reveal even more clearly that we have been called to be a people with God’s heart to give in every situation, to be generous with our time, with our resources, and with our money. How can we not speak up for this very important truth in God’s Word? Not doing so will only continue to allow the Church to drift away from the power and fruitfulness that God intends.
One reason giving is so important is that it is at the heart of the Gospel message. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. The disciples of Jesus were called and taught how to give, to serve, and to bless others. I believe that financial giving, especially in sacrificial ways, often becomes a gateway for God to work deeper inside of us and to transform us to be the selfless servants He desires to use in the world today.
I encourage everyone to begin to study afresh what His Word has to say about the benefits of Biblical giving. It doesn’t take experienced Bible scholars to understand these passages. God has made them very clear. And I encourage pastors and teachers not to shrink back from speaking boldly about these truths!