PO Box 3425
November/December Issue 2007 - Volume 26 Number 6
Why Do We Give?
“I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:35
Hartford, columnist for Financial Times, states, “The closer
you look at charitable giving, the less charitable it appears to be.” A
study of door-to-door fund-raising campaigns found that organizations earned
far more by selling lottery tickets than by asking for donations. Hartford
comments, “This hardly suggests a world populated by altruists seeking to
do the maximum good with their charitable cash.”
It seems that, at least for some people, it is a
something-for-me/something-for-you approach to giving.
The admonition that Jesus offers about charitable deeds in Matthew 6
indicates that some of the rich and famous in His day had ulterior motives
in their giving. When we give our contributions at church are we expecting
something in return? There seems to be a big difference in the approach that
charitable organizations make as opposed to the approach the church makes to
donors. While the charities often entice people with merchandise or
giveaways, the church appeals more to our sense of duty and love. There is a
difference in a free-will offering and a fundraiser.
Jesus admonishes us to make a spiritual sacrifice.
ran across this story at justgive.org about a modern-day widow’s mite.
Mary Ann “Mother” Wright of Oakland, California was the recipient of the
2005 Caring Institute Award for a work she began to feed the poor. Mother
Wright, now age 84, believes she is on a God-given mission to feed the
hungry. Some 21 years ago she heard a voice in the night which motivated her
to give all of her $236 Social Security check to provide Thanksgiving dinner
for 300 homeless people in Oakland, California. She has been doing this ever
since. Seeing her dedication, others came to her aid. A formal organization
was born which feeds about 450 people a day and more recently sends food to
other needy people around the world.
is sharing. Love is the key word in life; it runs from heart-to-heart and
breath-to-breath. Thinking of others more than you do yourself. That's
caring and sharing for others."
points out to his disciples that God is more concerned with the giver than
He is with the gift. No doubt many of the rich had given far larger sums of
money than the poor widow Jesus pointed out to His disciples, but none of
them impressed the Lord as she did. We are reminded in this story that if we
are faithful with a little we will likely be faithful with much.
If we are not faithful with a little, then we aren’t likely to be
faithful in our giving no matter how much the Lord gives us.
this issue Dennis Gage and Tom Bennett explore The Widow’s Mite and
"The Widows Mite"
“Now Jesus sat opposite the
treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who
were rich put in much. Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites,
which make a quadrans. So He called His disciples to Himself and said to
them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than
all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their
abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole
livelihood.’” Mark 12:41-44
this passage in Mark, Jesus is dealing with a part of our service to Him and
His Kingdom that we would probably rather not have brought to our attention.
In this passage we are brought face to face with our responsibility of
giving. While it is something we might rather not look at, before we turn
away, let us notice some much needed teaching from God's Word concerning our
Himself set the example of this principle of giving. Jn.3:16, “For God so
loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” God has set the
example by giving the supreme gift. No matter what we might give
might then seem logical to the mind of man to say, “If I cannot match the
gift that God and Christ has given for me, then why bother to give back at
all?” God has always expected His people to be a giving people. Not only
does God expect His people to have a giving heart, but also God expects us
to give the best we have, and give willingly! In Leviticus 1:1-11 Moses
instructs the people of God concerning their sacrifice, or their giving back
to God. Notice that God requires of His people the BEST of their flocks and
herds, or whatever they offer.
I realize the scriptures we have just noticed are found in the Old
Testament, we serve the same God that still expects us to give back to Him
and to give the best we have willingly. The commands concerning our giving
contained in the New Testament instruct us that our motive in giving must be
love. In fact, Paul tells the Corinthian brethren that even if he gave his
body to be burned, or bestowed all his goods to feed the poor, and wasn't
motivated by love it wouldn't profit him anything (1 Cor.13:3). Clearly our
giving must first of all be a gift of love. And why would we expect anything
else as our motive. Remember again the words of Christ in Jn.3:16,”For God
so loved, that He gave His only begotten Son.”
tells us that our giving must be something that we have given some serious
thought and planning to, and that we do so willingly and cheerfully (2
Cor.9:7). Paul's instruction to the Corinthians is in regard to the giving
of their money. We are no longer under the Old Law of the tithe, a law that
demanded one-tenth. Now we are to give back to God and Christ as they have,
through example, given to us. We are to give willingly and through love.
we give through love, our gift should be a sacrifice to God. God has never
been happy to receive just what we have left over, but rather He asks we put
Him first. This may mean that we have to deprive
I stated in the beginning of this article, many times we don't like to be
reminded of our responsibility to give back to God. I realize our whole life
should be a living sacrifice (Rom.12:1-2). There are too many
times when we begin to talk about giving back our money to Christ and His
Kingdom, we without fail begin to talk about how little money we have. We
are quick to say how much we would do if we only had more money to do it
with. I am reminded of a statement I once read, I can't remember the author,
but the statement is, “It's not what you would do with millions, if riches
should be your lot. It's what you're doing Brother, with the dollar and
quarter you've got.” I think the author of this statement was influenced
by a statement Jesus made in Lk.16:10, “He who is faithful in what is
least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is
unjust also in much.” Jesus simply tells us if we are not faithful in our giving
back to Him in what we have, no matter how little it might seem, we would
not be faithful in giving back to Him no matter how much we might have been
we ever talked about or dreamed about church buildings we would build, how
deeply we would be involved in mission work, how much we would do to benefit
The Kingdom Of God, if only we had more money. Before we decide how much we
would do if we only had more money, we need to look and see what we are
doing with the money we have. According to Jesus' statement in Lk.16:10, if
we are not faithfully using what we have right now, we wouldn't do any more
no matter how much we might have. It's not what we would do with millions,
but what we are doing with the dollar and quarter we have been given.
back to our text in Mk.12:41-44, Jesus finds favor with this widow and her
gift. He does not find favor because her gift was the largest amount given,
but because she gave all that she had. She was being faithful over the
little she had been given. What a powerful example for us today in what we
give back to the Lord. This widow gave out of love, willingly, being
faithful in what she had.
God Bless and strengthen us all in what we return to Him. May our gift be
given In Love, and given Willingly, Being Faithful with what God has given
"Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly." Matthew 6:1-4
morning a preacher announced that next Sunday's message would be on the
subject of giving. A week later
while en-route to services a Dad gave his daughter one quarter and a dollar,
and told her that after the sermon she was to give what she thought would
best serve the Lord. As they drove home after morning services the Dad said,
"Which one did you give?" The
girl said, "I gave the quarter."
The Dad said, "Why?" She
said, "Well, the preacher said at the end of his sermon to be a
cheerful giver, and I knew if I gave the dollar instead of the quarter that
I wouldn't be very cheerful."
may chuckle at the reasoning of the little girl, but money sometimes becomes
all too important to us doesn't it? Throughout
God's word we read many stories of man and his possessions, and much of the
time it deals with our struggles on how we see fit to use what God has
blessed us with.
of the time I struggle with the topic of my sermon, but in reading
New-Testament scripture it becomes obvious that Jesus knew just how to prick
man's conscience. In Matthew,
Mark, and Luke one out of every six verses deals with money, and out of the
twenty-nine parables Jesus taught, sixteen deal with a person and his money.
One such admonition is found in Matthew 6:1-4.
is a great duty that all children of God must abound in according to their
ability. It seems that, at
least for some people, it is a something-for-me/something-for-you approach
to their giving. The admonition
Jesus offers if Matt. 6 indicates that some of the rich and famous of his
day had ulterior motives in their giving.
Surely the hypocrites of Jesus day did practice this duty, but it was
not out of obedience to God or love to fellow man. They gave in pride,
satisfying their own egos, and not out of compassion.
Simply put, their giving was purely for show. The hypocrites of
Jesus' day wanted to be seen as good men, so they could build up respect
with the people, and in return get a great deal more than they actually
gave. More than likely
collections would be taken up while in their synagogues to give to the poor
and needy that were on the streets. It
was in these public settings that they chose to do their charitable deeds.
There is nothing wrong with giving when men see us, but we should
never give that men may see us. They
should have done these works because they were good, not to give themselves
a good name. Many of the
so-called most religious of Jesus day had no idea of the real joy that
giving can bring, the joy that comes when we are not seeking some reward,
merit, or favor.
what Christ says to these people, "Verily I say unto you, they have
their reward." This is not
something he is promising these people.
They were given a big, public pat on the back from those for whom the
good deed was done as well as other onlookers, and that was all they wanted
to begin with. There is no
mention of any reward laid up for them in the future.
In sharp contrast we find that rewards the godly have in this life
are but a partial payment of things to come.
Our giving cheerfully and willingly has an incredible promise
attached. Paul told the
Brethren at Corinth in 2 Corinthians 9:8 about the promise.
"And God who is able to make all grace abound toward you, that
you always having all sufficiency in all things, have an abundance for every
good work." Paul tells
them that God had supplied them bountifully, so that they could "abound
to every good work." The
promise was not necessarily that they would have more money, but certainly a
promise of more abundant blessings.
the years I have been preaching it has been my privilege and my joy to teach
and encourage on the subject of giving our money to the Lord.
It's been very rewarding to see individual growth in giving.
I believe that of all the people in history, those of us today are
blessed beyond what is deserved and with these great blessings come many
opportunities. How do we value the blessings we have received in Christ, and
is our giving consistent with these blessings?
One thing is for certain; if we love greatly, we will give greatly.
It is possible for us to give without loving, and impossible to truly
love without giving. It should bring us inner joy when we give back to the Lord,
but we must always remember, no matter how much we give we will never out
give God! Many times before we
pass the offering tray on Sunday we admonish the Saints to give as "
God has prospered us." You
can rest assured that God knows whether or not our giving represents His
prospering of us!
realize there must be some planning and setting of priorities in our
households. We must provide for
life's necessities such as shelter, food, clothing, etc.
Where in our planning do we think of God?
Proverbs 3:9 says, "Honor the Lord with your possessions, And
with the first fruits of all your increase."
Does "first fruits" suggest something about priority?
Planning may sometimes involve eliminating.
I have an idea that most families in America could so some
eliminating without hurting a thing. Does
the word "sacrifice" ever come into view in our giving?
I have a strong suspicion most of us do not know what our potential
in giving really is. Our
children need to be a part of the giving.
They need to hear us as parents discussing and praying about how
great giving might impact the family. They
can tell if we are giving "as we purpose in our heart," which
involves more than just a hurried hunt through our wallet, or scribbling a
check at the last minute.
wife and I will occasionally give our daughters what I refer to as the
adversity speech, telling them that life is not always perfect.
The more I reflect on it maybe we should be warning them of
prosperity. Few people can live
in the lap of luxury and maintain their moral balance.
Prosperity can cause us to forget or even ignore the fact that every
good thing comes from God and that our abundance should cause us to be more
benevolent to the needs of others. When Jesus told the story about the rich
farmer in Luke 12, he ends the story by telling us who the truly rich are.
The truly rich are those rich toward God.
Truly prosperous are the children of God, who have been born into
God's family through baptism (Gal 3:27).
In a right relationship with God, we recognize all the good things in
life are blessings from the heavenly Father, blessings that are not to be
selfishly enjoyed but shared in service to God and others.
are we truly laying up for ourselves treasures in heaven? Are we being good stewards with that which God has blessed
us? Are we doing charitable
deeds known only to the Father? Our
good deeds may not always be out in the open, but one day the reward will
be, and that will be worth the wait! God
Grant us, then the grace for giving
With a spirit large and free,
That our life and all our living
We may consecrate to Thee.