JESUS IS THE ANSWER TO GIVING
Many years ago someone wrote the following, which the writer has slightly changed, “Once I knew a Christian. He was a pious kind of fella. He always went to church on Sundays to pray and teach and break the bread. When the contribution plate was passed, he’d drop a nickel in, and sing, ‘When we asunder part, it gives us inward pain’.” The subject of this brief work is the contribution, giving. Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35). One of the dutiful blessings the child of God enjoys is giving. One naturally desires to know when giving is to be done, where, why, and how much should be given.
First, one might seek to know if contributions are the will of God. Immediately, it should be noted that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16). “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8). In this sacrificial offering of Jesus for our sins, which the blood of bulls and goats could not remit (Hebrews 10:4), one sees that all should “love him, because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19). In willingly coming to die for our sins (Matthew 20:28; 1 Timothy 2:6), Jesus proclaimed, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13). Jesus defined His friends as those who “do whatsoever I command you.” (Verse 14). He also said, “If ye love me keep my commandments.” (John 14:15). Thus, we see that God and Jesus gave the greatest gift possible. They ask us to give.
Second, one of the commands given to the people of God is “the collection of the saints.” (1 Corinthians 16:1). The “Spirit” (1 Corinthians 2:4), “God” (Verse 10), and “Christ” (Verse 16), moved Paul to write, “Upon the first day of the week, let each of you lay by him in store,…” (1 Corinthians 16:2). This is what was being done upon the first day of the week in Acts 2:42, when “they continued stedfastly in…fellowship,….” Fellowship, Greek, KOINONIA, is also translated “contribution” in Romans 15:26. (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, pages 345, 218). The things done in Acts 2, were upon the first day of the week. Observe, Pentecost, Greek PENTEKOSTE, means “fiftieth.” (Strong’s, p. 778). Leviticus 23:15, 16, shows this to be true. The day after the seventh Sabbath was the fiftieth day, the first day of the week. So, we see these New Testament Christians were doing the right thing, contributing, on the right day.
Third, one learns that giving is to be “as God hath prospered him.” (1 Corinthians 16:2). No certain amount was specified. No exact per cent was given. However, principles laid down in the word of God would aid one to give properly. One should consider how much was made in deciding how much to give. The churches of Macedonia gave “beyond their power”, and willingly, rather than seeing how little they could give and not be lost. (2 Corinthians 8:1-3). This they did because they “first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.” (Verse 5). They knew Paul might be reluctant to take their generous contribution because he knew their deep poverty, so they prayed him to take the gift. (Verses 1-5). Paul used their generosity to encourage others to “abound in this grace also.” (Verse 7). Get and study V. P. Black’s most valuable books on giving.
Fourth, consider some other things with regard to one’s giving. Giving should be done with a “willing mind.” (2 Corinthians 8:12). One should give sufficiently so that others do not have to carry the load, (Verses 13, 14, “by an equality”). The elders and church should have confidence in every child of God giving generously so that each one carries his/her part of the load. (Verse 22). “The proof of one’s love” is seen in one’s giving. (Verse 24). Chapter 9 also speaks of one’s giving. Paul said Achaia “was ready a year ago.” (Verse 2). They did not have to be begged. Their offerings of love “provoked very many.” (Verse 2). Their “bounty”, “not…covetousness” was expected. (Verse 5). “But this I say, He that soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” (Verse 6). “Every man” (Verse 7), “every one of you” who has prospered (1 Corinthians 16:2), is to give. (2 Corinthians 8:7). One’s contribution is to be “as he purposeth in his heart.” (Verse 7). Our giving should not be grudgingly (Verse 7), or like the man in paragraph one. Neither should one give only because he must. When one seriously considers what God has done for lost, depraved man, one should have to discipline one’s self not to give more than he/she can afford. “God loveth a cheerful giver.” (Verse 7). Interestingly, “cheerful” comes from the Greek word, “HILAROS…propitious or merry (‘hilarious’), i. e. prompt or willing:–cheerful.” (Strong’s, p. 182). W. E. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, p. 184, says, “that readiness of mind, that joyousness, which is, prompt to do anything…’God loveth a cheerful (hilarious) giver’.” Notice how close this Greek word is to our English word, hilarious. One’s giving should bring more joy that the purchase of a new car, house, or any other physical item. One should certainly get more joy out of giving that one’s favorite team winning a game.
Fifth, “God is able to make all grace abound toward you;….” (Verse 8). Read Malachi 3:8-10. Do not rob God in your giving. Give properly. God will take care of you. The Psalmist eloquently said, “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed.” (Psalm 37:25, 26). As this writer approaches seventy-five, he can say the same. Compare Luke 6:38, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” We must remember, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: For in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially to them who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:7-10). Compare James 1:27. Matthew 25:34-46 is the Lord’s challenge to all to help those in need. He links this to helping Him. Children of the King should be ready, willing, and active in aiding those in need. Each saint should regularly take inventory of the monies he/she receives, and how it is being used. Remember, Jesus taught, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21). Look around to determine your state of affairs, and your needs. Are corrections needed? Each reader can know what is needed by what is seen.
Beloved, “The Love of money is the root of all evil: which while some have coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” (1 Timothy 6:10, 17, 18). Hopefully, you have not allowed money to become the god of your life. Colossians 3:5 speaks of “covetousness, which is idolatry.”
A final challenge. The gospel is to be preached to every creature in every nation. (Mark 16:15, Matthew 28:19). Missionaries are constantly pleading for funds to do this work. Many elderships have to decline to help because the funds are not there. Some churches even have to use “part time” men to work with them due to a lack of funds, because some do not give as prospered. Many needy people go without help due to a lack of funds in local treasuries. Saints are not edified and/or restored in part due to a lack of funds. Each reader should ask, “Is this in part due to me not giving according to my prosperity?”