Luke 6:38 “Give and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you”.
When I was a young girl, my Sunday school teacher taught my peers about the importance of giving and the benefits that comes alongside it. Up till now, I fully understand why she was so passionate about it. Ladies, it is vitally important to give for it opens many doors; doors of opportunities, doors of success, doors of favor, you name it! But the problem with our Christian society today is the struggle to give. Some of us find it difficult to give. We look at our situation and justify why we should or should not give a certain amount. I am not only talking about money, it could be spending time with a loved one, helping out a work colleague, or most importantly, spending quality time with God.
The world that we are living in now is just becoming too self-indulging. All we think about is what I can obtain from receiving. Christian-giving is not optional, it is essential. In as much as we have to give, we must give for the RIGHT REASONS. Jesus warned His disciples not to give for the sake of being admired by men. Some of us today are guilty when it comes to giving because we want to be applauded by man, and let them boast of us. The Word tells us to “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them,”. Jesus said in Matthew 6:1 “When we give, we must be careful to examine our motives. We ought to give for the glory of God and the good of His people. We must desire His approval of our giving, rather than the praise and admiration of people”. Are you giving for God’s praise or man’s praise? What is the real motive behind your giving?
The level at which you give to God, that is the level He will give back to you. If you earn £1,000.00 every month, and you only give God £50.00, don’t expect a 100% increase, because you have robbed Him of the remaining £50.00. Why do we find it so hard to give in church relative to buying expensive clothing? Don’t we trust God enough to provide all we need, or are we trying to satisfy our selfish motives. For this reason, I challenge you to really KNOW GOD FOR WHO HE IS! He is the creator of the universe, so why do you find it hard to give what is already His? Are you getting it? Everything you have belongs to God. Your LIFE, your family, loved ones, finances, possessions are all bonuses. If you make a decision in your heart to give above your level, (in other words, give more than you regularly put in) God will pour out His blessing that you won’t have enough room to receive. (Don’t believe me? Read Malachi 3:10).
This could also be a test for someone. I remember at university in my first year, I found it hard to give my 10% to God. I kept on saying I will do it, but spent the money on myself. When you keep thinking about yourself, you limit God in blessing you further. You seize your opportunity of receiving more than you expected. Not giving God what is His is a slap in the face. After all, what is yours now belongs to Him, so regardless of what you do with your finances and spare time, it will all be monitored. Jesus reminds us that when we give, the all-knowing God sees the intentions of the heart. Jesus said “When you give, your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you”. (Matthew 6:3-4). When we give, we are not simply adding to the church budget, we are giving up a thank offering to the Father Himself. We shouldn’t even be reminded to give God our tithing and offerings, it should be a thing of joy to offer what He has giving us back, thus, we must all give as unto the Lord. Our ultimate goal in giving is to please Him. Are you conscious of the fact that your giving is seen by the Lord? Never mind the spectators, but you must have at the back of your mind that God must come first in your giving.
Now I am not saying you should give everything and not have anything for yourself, that is not wise, however giving should be done in accordance to your needs. Paul is quite clear on this: “For if the readiness is present, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what a person does not have” (2 Corinthians 8:12). Alternatively Paul is saying that you should give in proportion to what God has given you. He said it this way in 1 Corinthians 16:2: “Each one of you is to put aside and save as he may prosper.” This means at least two things: (1) since we are all supposed to give proportionately, those who have more money are expected to give more we who are particularly blessed materially must remember this, and (2): the Lord never asks us to give what we do not have, or contribute beyond our means. Are you really giving in proportion to the material blessings that the Lord has given you? As stated earlier, for those that have more, are you struggling in giving beyond your means? For those that may not be working as of yet, God understands; this brings me on to my next topic:
Temporary and Eternal Things
When you make a decision to seek God and not temporary things, you are setting yourself up for success. Why did Jesus emphasize on giving than receiving? Because He knew giving was much more GREATER than gaining back. He knew that the real blessing was placed in Heaven, not in this temporary world. I hate to tell you this, but one day you and I will be leaving this earth. You ain’t staying here sister! You can have a few teeth or die cute, but your still going lol. It is important to be reminded that giving is a sign of trust and expectancy! What are you expecting from God? Do you want Him to amaze you? Then check your giving levels because that is where it starts. Although, have at the back of your mind that this world we live in is not to stay in. We are only here for a little while and to fulfill God’s purposes for His Kingdom.
Worship on the other hand is eternal; it is a great way of connecting with God. When we put our money in the offering bowl, we are worshipping God in accordance to His word. Is your worship in this area abundant or inhibited? Is giving to God a priority to you? Why is it a struggle to worship? Because it is easy to worship when everything is going well in your life. For those who may not be working, it is still an opportunity for you to worship without having materialistic things. Don’t think that your worship is going unnoticed because God looks at the intentions of your hearts. It may feel as if the more you are worshipping, nothing is happening, but I can guarantee you that when it becomes a lifestyle, your circumstances will change for the better.
Giving is an Act of Love
Personally, I find it very hard to believe someone when they say :’ I love you Esther’ and not give anything tangible to prove. Now I am not one to be choosy and ask for heaven and earth, however I honestly do get a bit suspicious. Take mothers or fathers day; it would be placed on your hearts to buy your own parents gifts on their special day? How about your spouse? Don’t you want to prove to him how much you care? Buying someone a gift is an act of love as it expresses how you feel about them. This can also be applied in the same way as Gods love. He sent down His Son for us to die for mankind. But with God’s gift, it is the greatest of all. Now back to you; what is stopping you from giving beyond your level? Are you still living with uncertainty contemplating when you are financially stable that you start giving? It has to stop now, because until you keep waiting for that perfect day, opportunities will be passing you by.
I’ve realised the more you wait until things change for the better, the more time you are wasting to be blessed. Let us not be reluctant to give. You may feel empty now, but your cup will run over! Don’t think that your current circumstance won’t change because IT WILL if your position yourself. Some find it hard to give due to fear of not getting what was initially given. How much will I receive back? What is in it for me? But look back over your life and see the countless times where God woke you up everyday regardless of your downfalls. That is a loving God right there. Never be selfish in giving. Remember the rich man in the Bible that found it difficult to give his riches to the poor? It is none of our portions to be this stingy. When you have so much, why not think about sharing some of your possessions? (Matthew 19:16-30). Pay particular attention to verses 21-24:
Giving not only blesses you, but it blesses those around you including your family, friends and loved ones. If you want to see change in your life, if you desire to have a better future, change your giving. LEARN TO GIVE ON THE LEVEL YOU WANT TO RECEIVE BACK. Remember that God loves a cheerful giver. This life was not only made for you, think about others too. When you give at in your current position, it will be easier to give when you get older. What you do now becomes a habit towards your future, so give with good intentions because you reap what you sow.