How many times haven't we all heard sermons
about giving. Reasons for giving are many, ranging from "it's the law",
to "It will make you prosperous to give".
Now I'm not going to dispute any of these reasons, but I do have some problems with using these as the reasons to give.
First of all, I'm of a very independent nature. If you want me to do something cheerfully, then you don't tell me to do it because it's the rules. If it's the rule, then I'll do it. But not out of my heart! Remember Paul's advice about giving? "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Cor 9:7 NIV) Some of you may relate to that, others may not, but that's how I am!
As for the idea of giving because you will get in return, yes, this is a very Biblical principle. After all, didn't God say, through the prophet Malachi, "'Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,' says the LORD Almighty, 'and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.'" (Mal 3:10-11 NIV) But this, to me, seems like such a selfish reason to give! Shouldn't we be giving out of love? Shouldn't we be giving out of gratitude for what God has given to us?
I was contemplating this question when I came, in my Bible, to a story recorded in 1 Chronicles, one that marks the very end of David's life. 1 Chronicles 29 describes the steps David took for the temple of the Lord. He had been told by the Prophet Nathan that he would NOT be the one to build the temple, but this task would be passed on to his son, Solomon. So David spent his last efforts getting ready for this temple. He collected gold, silver, bronze, and iron, and then he, as an example to the people, gave thousands of talents of gold and silver from his own personal treasury.
Then David addresses the people: "And now, how about you? Who among you is ready and willing to join in the giving?" (1 Chron 29:5 The Message)
The people's response? "Ready and willing, the heads of families, leaders of the tribes of Israel, commanders and captains in the army, stewards of the king's affairs, stepped forward and gave willingly." (1 Chron 29:6 MESSAGE)
David then addresses the people in a prayer to God, and hidden within his prayer we find the real reason for giving: "And who are these my people, that we should presume to be giving something to you? Everything comes from you; all we're doing is giving back what we've been given from your generous hand." (1 Chron 29:14-15 the MESSAGE)
The real reason for giving has nothing to do with selfish motives or even because God tells us to give: The real reason for giving is that without God we have NOTHING! Everything, every blessing, every penny, every stitch of clothing, every crumb of food comes from God! It's a gift to us! When we give, we are simply giving back what we've been given! When we give, it is our way of saying, "Thanks, God, for giving this to us!"
So are there any perks for giving?
Absolutely! And David outlines these as well: "And the people were full of a sense of celebration - all that giving! And all given willingly, freely!" (1 Chron 29:9, MESSAGE)
Friends, there is no denying that giving brings about more benefit than the sacrifice we may undergo to give. But when we give freely, from our hearts, with unselfish motives, it brings joy to our hearts! We are filled with a sense of celebration! All that giving brings about joy!
So in summary, when we give, it should be a gift of thanksgiving, giving back to God what He has so generously given to us. But when we do, of a true and loving heart, there is reward! We are filled with celebration and joy!
Isn't that enough reason to give, my friend?
As this Christmas season comes upon us, let's remember: It's not about getting. God has already poured out so many blessings upon us! It's about giving in thanksgiving: Giving back to God what He has so generously given to us!
In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Mother of two teens, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, www.scripturalnuggets.org , with Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org .