Yesterday was Giving Tuesday also known as the National Day of Giving. It’s interesting we put that day after Black Friday and Cyber Monday. We have it backward, don’t we? –After all our getting, we add giving, almost as an afterthought. The Bible says it should be just the opposite: we should give first, not after we shoot our wad on our wants. Don’t get me wrong, I think “Giving Tuesday” is a great opportunity to give, but we need to guard against materialism and seek to give first, not second. After all, the cure for greed is giving. Here are four reasons to give first!
1. In giving first, we obey God
The Bible says that we are to “Honor the Lord by giving him the first part of all your income” Proverbs 3:9 (TLB). Giving is expected of every Christ-follower. When Jesus talked about giving he said, “when you give”, not “if you give” (Matthew 6:2). When we give, we model God. “For God so loved the world that He gave…” (John 3:16). God gives us everything through His Son. He commands us to give because He is the greatest Giver.
2. In giving first, we connect with God.
You can tell what is important in a person’s life by what they spend their money on. Jesus put it this way: “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Luke 12:34). In other words, what we give to, we are drawn to. Every time we give to God and his Kingdom, we connect with Him. Our love and commitment increase through our generous giving.
3. In giving first, we trust God.
Jesus said, “it is more blessed to give, than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Do we believe that? Giving shows how much we trust God. For many Christians, tithing 10% seems unrealistic and giving beyond that seems completely impossible. I know we can debate “how much” God wants us to give, but too often our wallets are the last thing to be sanctified!
4. In giving first, we please God
In 2 Corinthians 9:7 we learn how our giving can please God. It says “You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves a person who gives cheerfully” (NTL). First, we must give purposefully. The verse says we need to think deeply (from our hearts) before we give. We should never give impulsively. Next, it must be done freely. If we feel pressured or give out of duty, it doesn’t count in God’s eyes. Finally, we must give cheerfully. The word “cheerful” is literally the word from which we derive the word “hilarious.” God loves a hilarious giver. It pleases Him!
BEFORE YOU GO…
As we give first, we should do it expectantly and in faith. Yes, the Prosperity Gospel gets it wrong (when you give, you will not be rewarded with a Mercedes). However, let’s believe that God will bless as we give. Let’s trust him for greater things! The Apostle Paul wrote, “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously” (2 Corinthians 9:6).
What are your thoughts on giving? How are you giving of your finances? Your time? Your gifts and abilities?