Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive”. In our consumer culture, this attitude can often get lost as we accumulate more things. But as one reads the Bible, it is clear in both the Old and New Testaments that God wants his people to be a giving people.
As one considers the subject of giving, there are three primary aspects to consider: the reasons for giving, the discipline of giving, and the motivation for giving.
God highlights three primary reasons to give. One of the most important is to help the poor. God provides more than we need so that we can help those who have less than they need.
“Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?” (James 2:15-16)
“He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses.“ (Proverbs 28:27)
“Jesus answered, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’ “ (Matthew 19:21)
God also expects his followers to support the local church and those who do the work of spreading God’s glory and God’s message.
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.“ (Malachi 3:10)
“And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.“ (Matthew 10:42)
“The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For Scripture says, ‘Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,’ and ‘The worker deserves his wages’.” (1 Timothy 5:17-18)
God has commanded each of us to love one another as we love ourselves. One way to express this type of love is to give to those who need help, even if they are not poor. The Bible shows that giving just to help another is a proper way to give.
“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31)
“Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, ‘Come back later; I’ll give it tomorrow’—when you now have it with you.” (Proverbs 3:27-28)
“Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.“ (Matthew 5:42)
The discipline of how we give is also important in God’s eyes. Our giving should be conscious, consistent, and prayerful. As God blesses us each week, we should humbly ask for God’s direction as to where and how much we are to give.
“On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income…” (1 Corinthians 16:2)
“But just as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us — see that you also excel in this grace of giving” (2 Corinthians 8:7)
“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5)
Most importantly, God is concerned about our motivation for giving. We are to give out of a spirit of reverence to the Lord and with a joyful demeanor. Our giving should an act of love and worship to God.
“Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7)
“If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:3)
“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.“ (Matthew 6:2)
God is pleased when we give from what He has given us. As we give for the proper reasons and with correct motivations, the Lord responds by helping us as well.
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38)