Since I wrote about Stewardship last week, and part of being a good steward is giving, I figured that this would be the next logical place to go. I'll be honest, I don't really feel qualified to write on this subject since I am not naturally a giver. But God has been changing my heart in this area lately and I'm slowly learning and changing. My husband is a natural giver, it is his spiritual gift, and I have learned a lot from him. As I've done research on this subject, I've also learned a lot!
Before I go any further, I'd like to share what Larry Burkett writes on Giving in his book The Word on Finances.
Giving should be an outward, material expression of a deep spiritual commitment, an indication of a willing and obedient heart. We should give out of grateful hearts in an attitude of joy. Sacrificial giving is a way to honor God, but it should be the result of a good attitude.
There are 3 basic levels of giving.
1 ~ The Tithe, which means 1/10th. This is the minimum that we should give and the giving of our first fruits. We should be tithing on our Gross income, inheritances, profit made on the sale of a house. Basically, any money that we make. Malachi 3:10 says,"Bring the full tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house." The storehouse here would be the equivalent of today's church. So, we should give our tithe to the church. There are many verses that speak of tithing. Here are just a few of them. Gen. 4:3-4, Exodus 34:19, Deut. 18:4, Numbers 18:12-13, Nehemiah 10:37-39, Prov. 3:9,10
2 ~ The Offering or Gift. This is what we give above and beyond our tithe to help other people or other organizations. Here are just a few Scriptures that talk about gifts. Exodus 35:5, Ezra 1:6, Ezra 2:69, Luke 6:38, 2 Corinthians 9:7.
3 ~ Sacrificial Giving. This is when one gives to the point that they give up things that they want or need in order to help others that have greater needs. It's when you give as the widow gave in Luke 12.
The amount of proof texts that Larry Burkett sites when it comes to giving is unbelievable. Almost 80 pages worth! There is no question that we are called to give, to give generously, and to give cheerfully. Yes, this is going to look different for everyone. Especially since God gives to everyone differently. But when we remember that it is all His, it's easy to want to give instead of just keep it for our own selfish interests.
As a Christian woman, I often look to the Proverbs 31 woman for guidance in who I should be. In verse 20 we find that this model of a Christian woman, "opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy."
"Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD Almighty. But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’ Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ "In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. 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 there will not be room enough to store it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the LORD Almighty.
Some of my favorite stories of sacrificial giving are the ones where people did just this, they tested God.
I remember about a year ago, hearing a man on the radio tell how much he made and that someone had challenged him to give the next year just as much as he made. That year he continued living the same exact lifestyle that he was living and was able to give that same amount away. The next year he increased his giving and he continued every year after that. There was always enough money to keep his lifestyle the same but to give more.
God promises to bless us as we give generously, from our heart. Of course our attitude of 'giving to get' should not be one of selfishness but of 'giving to get' so we can then in turn can continue to give more.
Praise God for all that He has blessed us with and may we have grateful hearts that desire to give back to Him.
My Other Posts on Finances:
What Led Our Family to Budgeting