In The Market Place
The Joy of Giving
G Edward Reid
Why do people give their hard-earned money away? How could the Bible say, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35)? There are many good reasons actually. The bottom line is that the more we become like Christ, the more we love what He loves and are actually excited about working with Him in support of His kingdom. Let’s look at just three giving motivations.
Just to Say Thanks
We do not give because we have too much. We give in response to experienced grace and in thanksgiving for God’s blessings. During our times of reflection and contemplation we must all exclaim, “What an awesome God we serve!” At family reunions, graduations, anniversaries, ASI Conventions, etc., we realize how blessed we really are.
In spite of the troubles and sorrows we all experience we can only say, “Where would I be without God?” And we also realize where we are with God: in the hollow of His hand. We have the blessed hope that whatever may happen to us or to our loved ones, our eternal destiny is secure with God. We are part of His family already. That is good news! Our offerings, then, are an expression of our gratitude and to recognize where the blessings come from.
To Advance God’s Cause
When we have charitable desires in our hearts, we know that God puts them there. It comes quite naturally to the human heart in this sinful world to be selfish and to think only or primarily about our own comforts. But as Christians, in response to the Holy Spirit’s urging, we are happy in giving to projects we believe will advance the cause of God in the earth and hasten the coming of Christ.
Giving is a source of joy because we can actually see what our funds accomplish in the projects we support. There is also the satisfaction of being involved in a great work that encompasses the entire earth. With God’s gift of generosity alive in our hearts, we are actually pleased when we hear of good projects and endeavors that we can support and encourage.
“Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25). That is where His interest is, in the church next door and around the world. When we love Him that becomes our interest too. And it is a truism that we will support what we love, no matter what the cost.
The kingdom parables of Jesus underscore this concept. Matthew 13:44 is a good example: “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” We lay everything on the line for the kingdom, but we don’t think of it as a sacrifice because we know that what we have found is worth far more that what we are giving up.
Thinking Big—Real Big
Sometimes as we go through life our giving can degenerate to the level of wallet roulette—just checking your wallet before the offering plate arrives at your spot in the pew. Some have risen to the level of checkbook philanthropy by simply writing out a contribution from the checkbook balance. But two factors can contribute to a commitment that is much better than that.
The first is when we finally realize what a fantastic and timely message we have for the world in these last days of uncertainty. The second is when we realize that we are not going to live forever this side of the Second Coming, and that we must return to God what He has lent to us. As we pass middle age and our children are raised and educated, our homes are paid off and our needs are met, then we can think of making big—real big—gifts to advance God’s cause.
This level of giving requires greater thought and planning. It is not necessarily easy to give money away, but it is perhaps one of the most rewarding things any family can do. Under these circumstances we can become channels of blessing for God and, believe it or not, an answer to someone’s fervent prayer.
If we wait until we die to make these bigger gifts to God’s cause, we cannot experience the joy of seeing the light in the eyes of those helped or the reality of a project completed for the glory of God. In the world today there are many opportunities to make a real difference to relieve suffering or to provide for the advancement of God’s work. I invite you to experience the joy of giving.