FROM GRATITUDE TO GENEROSITY
At the heart of our relationship with God is gratitude. "Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) Our commitment to God and our communication with God must be marked with gratitude. All through our day our heart must be filled with gratitude. "Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice." (Psalms 55:17) God's children must be thankful people. Our prayer life must be filled with thanksgiving. The attitude of thanksgiving characterized Paul's life. He wrote, "And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him." (Colossians 3:17) Thanksgiving to God is one step toward spiritual health. Only the truly thankful person can enjoy strong spiritual health. Gratitude is a choice that affects your entire life, physically and spiritually.
Gratitude is a major step of faith. Gratitude is a spiritual step that leads to generosity. Gratitude always releases God's power in our life. Let us learn to be grateful regardless of the circumstance. "And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them." (Acts 16:25) Gratitude is a step of faith that increases your capacity to be generous. Ungrateful people miss many blessing and they also fail to experience the generosity that they could develop in their life. How can we develop the attitude of gratitude? Gratitude grows in our life when thanksgiving becomes important to us. "Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving." (Colossians 4:2) Gratitude grows in our life when we focus on important matters like, salvation, forgiveness, freedom from sin, and eternity. Gratitude grows in our life when we remember small blessings, health, natural things, sight, hearing or some small act of kindness. Gratitude grows in our life when we remember those who are less fortunate than we.
Gratitude promotes generosity. God promises happiness to the giver. "...It is more blessed to give than to receive." (Acts 20:35) He also promises blessing to the generous giver. "He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully." (2 Corinthians 9:6) Let us notice several scriptures where God makes promises to the giver.
Promises related to giving from the Old Testament:
Proverbs 3:9-10 -- "Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine." Give your possessions to God. Honor Him with the first and best you have. The promised blessings will follow. "So your barns will be filled with plenty, and yours vats will overflow with new wine."
Proverbs 11:24-25 -- "There is one who scatters, yet increases more; and there is one who withholds more than is right, but it leads to poverty. The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself." God promised increase to the one who scatters or gives what he has. God also promised blessing withheld from the one who fails to give. If you give you will be blessed. "He who waters will also be watered himself."
Proverbs 19:17 -- "He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, and He will pay back what he has given." How could it be plainer? "The Lord will pay back what is given" to the poor.
Malachi 3:10 -- "Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this, Says the Lord of hosts, If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it." God said, test me, try me and prove me with your giving. God's promise to the faithful giver is, "...I will open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it."
Promises related to giving from the New Testament:
Luke 6:38 -- "Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you." Give and you receive for your giving good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over. God gives to you with the same measure you use in your giving to others. He also uses people in giving to you.
2 Corinthians 9:6 -- "But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully." How you reap or what you receive depends on what you give! Do you believe what God says about giving?
2 Corinthians 9:10-11 -- "Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God." God promised both to supply the "seed sown" and increase the fruit of your righteousness. He promised to enrich the faithful giver in all things. Do you believe what God says about giving?
To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Luke 13:3), confess Christ as Lord (Romans 10:9-10), and be baptized into Christ. (Romans 6:3-4) Scriptural giving is not just some optional thing. It is a part of all things commanded by Jesus which must be taught every Christian. "And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:18-20) Are you faithful in your giving? Jesus gave so you can be saved. Will you give so you can be saved?
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, 306 Walnut Street, Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA