What Does Giving Have To Do
With Our Relationship With God?
How we acquire our money and what we do with it once it is in our hands is a vital part of our relationship with God. Christianity is a giving religion. God gives plain and clear instruction on acceptable giving. Christians must be cheerful givers. “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7) God teaches both concerning the manner and the amount to be given. Those who trust in God are blessed as they honor Him through giving. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones. 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." (Proverbs 3:5-10) The cheerful giver opens his life to many blessings from God. "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." (Luke 6:38) Let us learn the relationship between our giving to God and our relationship with God.
Our relationship with God is strengthened by scriptural giving. Scriptural giving is accomplished by thought and design. "So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Corinthians 9:7) Those who make no plans in their giving offer God only the scraps. God expects and deserves better! Many do not plan to give because they focus on materialism. In our life, priority is given either to God or to material things. "No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." (Luke 16:13) Mammon is a word that means "riches" or "treasure." It is also used as a word for "money." Christians must never allow their possessions to possess them. It is frightening when we realize how many are actually controlled by a desire for things. This desire is covetousness. (Luke 16:10-15) A stingy person is more unlike Christ than any other wicked person in the world.
Our relationship with God grows when we understand stewardship verses ownership? Wisdom in stewardship comes from understanding that God is the owner of all things. The things in our hands are there as a matter of stewardship, not ownership. A man's view toward possession is a good indication of where his heart lies. In Psalm 24:1 we read, "The earth is the Lord's, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein." God is the Creator and owner of all things. “The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Haggai 2:8) The entire world, the people and everything in the world belongs to God. God said, “For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.” (Psalms 50:10) Our giving will never be what it ought to be until we have a scriptural view of God's ownership of all things. In cheerful giving, Christians come to understand God's ownership of all things and to then see righteousness developed in their own lives.
Our relationship with God grows when we give with the right spirit. God, in His providence, blesses the cheerful giver. "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." (2 Corinthians 9:10-11) God blesses us with that which will supply the needs of our own family and also bless others through benevolence and evangelism. God will multiply the seed sown. You give cheerfully and God will help you do even more. The right spirit in giving is a loving heart that is willing to sacrifice for the cause of Christ. Those who give with the right spirit are laying up treasures in heaven. "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:19-21)
Our relationship with God grows when our giving is motivated by love: God loved and He gave. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16) Paul challenged the Corinthians to prove the sincerity of their love by their giving. (2 Corinthians 8:7-8) Christ's gift as a loving sacrifice for us should motivate our giving. "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich." (2 Corinthians 8:9) A proof of a Christian's love is seen in giving. Paul encouraged the Corinthian Christians to "show to them, and before the churches the proof of your love and of our boasting on your behalf." (2 Corinthians 8:24) You can size up a man's character pretty accurately by considering how he got his money and what he does with it once it is in his hand.
Nothing blesses the life of a Christian more than cheerful giving. Will you accept God's wonderful good news that Jesus died for your sins? Will you be baptized into Christ to put on Christ so that your sins can be forgiven by His blood? (Galatians 3:26-27) The grace of God and His great gift to us demands our cheerful and liberal giving. Does your giving please God?
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, 306 Walnut Street,
Greenville, Alabama 36037