FacebookTwitterRSS FeedPinterest

By Elder Khoo Peng Kiat

Preached at / Published Life BPC Weekly, 2006-05-28

Introduction

The principles and practice of giving are taught in the Bible and when obeyed, will bring blessings to both givers and recipients. But the greater blessings fall on the giver than on the recipient because "it is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35).

What is Giving?

Giving is the offering of something to God or others, or to both. It is making one's time as well as one's possessions available for the services of God and others, and this is the essence of true living. It is said that one can give without loving but one cannot love without giving. In the words of J.H. Jowett, "Cheerful giving is born of love-Giving is the language of loving; indeed, it has no other speech. 'God so loved that He gave!' Love finds its very life in giving itself away. Its only pride in possession is the joy of surrender. If love has all things, it yet possesses nothing."

The living and true God is the best example of giving. He is the Source of all giving (Psalm 50:10-12; 1 Chronicles 29:11-12). The ability to get wealth comes from God: "But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God, for it is He that giveth thee the power to get wealth" (Deuteronomy 8:18).

What are the Principles of Giving?

According to God's Word, giving ought to be done:

1. Purposefully 

"Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give" (2 Corinthians 9:7a). We are not to come unprepared during the collection of tithes and offerings but must have purposed or determined to do so before going to church. In other words, giving is not to be done haphazardly but systematically and regularly every Lord's Day (1 Corinthians 16:2).

2. Proportionately

"Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him" (1 Corinthians 16:2; Malachi 3:10a). "Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which He hath given thee" (Deuteronomy 16:17a; Acts 11:29a). Our giving should be in proportion to our means: according to our financial ability. God is our Heavenly Father and as such He expects us to give what we have, not what we don't have (2 Corinthians 8:11-12). Our giving is the acid test of our love for God and His work.

3. Hilariously or cheerfully

It is "not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver" (2 Corinthians 9:7b). The word 'hilarious' comes from the Greek word "hilaros". It describes the spirit of enjoyment in giving; willingly, cheerfully, without any restraint. Such attitude of giving is thereby loved of God. Some people use the expression: "give until it pains you," which is not giving at all. When we love, we are happy to give and it should not cause pain at all.

4. Secretly or without show

"But when thou doest alms (charitable deeds), let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly" (Matthew 6:1-4). Our giving should be without show. In the sight of God, it is not the amount that counts but one's attitude and motive in giving that is taken into consideration. God judges the motives of our hearts. "All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes, but the LORD weigheth the spirits" (Proverbs 16:2; 20:27; 21:2; 1 Chronicles 28:9).

5. Sacrificially

It is giving not only according to our ability but beyond it; going without some "extra" we would very much like. It is giving unselfishly to those who have a greater need. In the presence of all the people Jesus told His disciples about the widow's giving. "And He looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And He saw also a certain poor widow casting thither two mites. And He said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than all. For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had" (Luke 21:1-3). And "God wants our hearts before our gifts. It is the quality of the gift that matters more than the quantity."

Another example of sacrificial giving was by the Macedonians who gave beyond Paul's hopes (2 Corinthians 8:1-4) for they gave of their own selves. 

6. Freely

"Freely ye have received, freely give" (Matthew 10:8b). Since we have freely received and are freely receiving daily from our Heavenly Father, we should freely give towards His cause and towards those who are members of the household of Christ who are in need, even those outside the household of faith. Since God Himself "spared not his own begotten Son but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32). Le Tourneau often said: "It is not how much money I give to God, but how much of God's money I keep for myself."

7. Generously

"He which soweth sparingly, shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully" (2 Corinthians 9:6-7). "There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty. The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself" (Proverbs 11:24-25; 22:9). This is the universal law of giving. The more you sow, the more you reap; the more you give, the more you receive. This is true not only in the farming community but also in the business world. One's return is determined by one's giving.

8. Willingly

"And they came every one whom his spirit made willing, and they brought the LORD'S offering to the work of the tabernacle" (Exodus 35:21-22, 29). "Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the LORD: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy" (1 Chronicles 29:9). King David's appeal to his people was supported by his own voluntary personal gifts. He led his people in giving because he himself was exemplary in giving of his own wealth. And they gave with sincerity and singleness of heart and mind; they gave willingly, not of necessity.

What are the Promises of Giving?

God said, "prove now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing. That there shall not be room enough to receive it" (Malachi 3:8-10). Can you imagine that God has so challenged you to test Him if He would not bless you when you tithe and give? Our God is a faithful God, a covenant-keeping God. He says what He means and means what He says.

Jesus said, "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" (Luke 6:38).

Paul said, "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19).

Solomon said, "He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed: for he giveth his bread to the poor" (Proverbs 22:9; 28:27). "Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the first fruit of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine" (Proverbs 3:9-10).

Examples of Giving

o Old Testament Time
� Abraham (Genesis 14:20; 25:6; 28:22)
� Moses (Numbers 3:51; 31:41; 32:33)
� Israelites (Exodus 35:21-29)
� Princes of Israel (Numbers 7:2-28)

o New Testament Time
� Poor Widow (Luke 21:2-4; Mark 12:41-44)
� Macedonian Churches (2 Corinthians 8:1-5; Romans 15:26; see also 1 Corinthians 16:1,3).

o Modern Time
� William Colgate (Soap and Toothpaste)
� Henry P. Crowell (Quaker Oats)
� Robert A. Laidlaw (N.Z. Businessman who wrote "The Reason Why" Booklet)
� W.A. Criswell (Pastor of First Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas)
� John D. Rockefeller (Founder of Esso, New Jersey)
� R.G. Letourneau (Tractor Manufacturer)

Conclusion

Let's not store up treasures on earth where there is no security but let us store them up in heaven where our investments are eternally secure, not subject to loss (Matthew 6:19-20). 

In the words of Jim Elliot, one of the present day martyrs: "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." 

Only one life, 
'Twill soon be past. 
Only what's done for Christ will last.
- C.T. Studd

Vision & Mission

 

To build a united church family that is committed to making disciples through Salvation, Sanctification and Service, to the glory of God.

Verse for the Week

October 15 & 22 - The Cost of Discipleship

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. Matthew 16:25