After my wife and I got married in Oakland, California on June 18, 1983, by God’s grace we believed and accepted the challenge to give to God as taught in the Word. We gave ourselves first to God; then we could give God our time, our talents, and our treasures. We wanted to live a life of obedience to the God whom we loved and served. Until this day, by God’s grace He still enables us to give and invest in his local church. We are so thankful for the ways He provided for our daily need. We never lack anything in life, because He always cares for us (Psalm 34:9-10; 37:25-26).
As our family grow in the Lord day by day, we have learned that giving to God is the way of life. We testified that God never tells us to give without providing the source. He is so faithful in doing that. We can always count on God. Before the Israelites left Egypt, God opened up the hearts of the Egyptians to give to His people whatever they needed and wanted, so that when the Israelites arrived in the wilderness as a group of freed slaves, they had something to give to God (Exodus 5:35-36). That is the confidence we can have in giving back to God. When we give to God we glorify His name (Proverbs 3:9-10). However, not all offerings and gifts are pleasing to God. God looks at our heart more than the gifts we give to Him. For example, Jesus warned about hypocritical giving (Matt 6:2). Also, the Apostle Paul encouraged us not to give reluctantly or under compulsion (2 Cor 9:7). How then are we suppose to give? There are at least three examples in Scripture which model for us the right attitude in giving.
1. Giving gratefully as Abraham gave to God – Genesis 14:19-20
“...and blessed Abram, saying, ‘Abram, may you be blessed by God Most High, the God who made heaven and earth. And we praise God Most High, who has helped you to defeat your enemies’. Then Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of everything he had brought back from the battle”. Abraham gave gratefully not because God told him so, but because God has done marvelous things in his life. God gave Him the great victory over the enemies and helped him brought back his nephew Lot from the enemies. Abraham gave a tenth out of a grateful heart to God. What are you grateful for in life and how does that motivate you to give?
2. Giving gladly as group of Christians in Macedonia – 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”. In the example of these early Christian believers, they had little to live by but their hearts were rich before God and their fellow believers who are in need. Are you rich in your material possession or are you rich in generosity? Do you have joy when you give?
3. Giving generously as David, a man after God’s own heart – 1 Chronicles 29:14
“But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand”. Before you give, how are you walking in your discipleship? Are you seeking to do everything that pleases the Lord, or are you still living in self indulgences and disobedience? Are you a person who is after God's own heart? Also, do you acknowledge that everything comes from the Lord? If so, what holds you back from a more generous posture in giving of your time, talents, and resources?
I would like to challenge us to live a life of faith in giving to God as examplified in His Word. May the Lord God enable us to give gratefully, gladly, and generously as His obedient followers.