As a pastor I’ve always been reluctant to talk about money. After all, isn’t that what every church is after… my money? Yet, what we do with our money reveals a lot about ourselves. Jesus said that “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21).
Every believer should be generous with their finances. After all, the greatest giver is God himself. In 2 Corinthians 9:7 it says that "Each person should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." Notice that we are never to feel compelled to give. In fact, if you feel pressure to give, don’t! It must come from your heart. God says we are to give cheerfully, not grudgingly.
Here are three things our generosity reveals.
1. My giving reveals my appreciation for the PAST.
When I give, I’m saying “thanks” to God for past blessings. After all, everything that I have is God’s, right? He is the source of our life. He is the source of our abilities. He is the source of everything. We give, because God first gave to us.
No matter what we say, what we give to and how we invest our money, tells what we really love. Someone put it this way, “You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.”
“You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.”
2. My giving reveals my motivation in the PRESENT.
In other words, giving helps me to look beyond my own needs and self-interests. By nature, man is basically self-centered. We have a tendency to think "What's in it for me?" Jeus said, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions" (Luke 12:15 NIV). Giving is the cure for greed. It prevents selfishness. Just as the Sabbath (taking off one day a week) guards against workaholism, tithing guards against selfishness and establishes a time to give to God.
In Deuteronomy 14:23 it says that "…the purpose of tithing is to teach you always to put God first in your lives." Giving has as much to do with our motives as our money. It helps us to get our priorities straight. Without giving, it’s easy to become miserly and miserable about our money. Giving keeps us from being self-centered scrooges by shifting our focus from ourselves to our Savior.
3. My giving reveals my expectation for the FUTURE.
Every time you give to God and his work, you are expressing faith for the future. You are expecting God to provide, both physically and spiritually! The Bible tells us to remember that “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously." (2 Corinthians 9:6 NIV) Let me summarize that verse in one sentence — Your giving determines what God can do in your life. If you plant little, you’ll get little. When you plant a lot, you’ll get a lot. That’s a promise of God.
One of the major indicators of our faith is money. Why? Because it’s so important to us. We spend most of our lives working for it, saving it up, or spending it.
Giving shows our faith. (Matthew 6:19-20 NIV) “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal." We do that by giving to God’s work and to others. Every time we give we are investing in the future.
BEFORE YOU GO…
Let me ask you — what are you expecting God to do in your life? How much do you what God to bless you? How much are you believing Him for? You know where to look for the answer to those questions — look at your giving.
The good news is that it’s impossible to out-give God. Let’s live lives of generosity, expectation, and faith, trusting Him to do great things for His glory and our good.