Author: Vincent

7 Reasons Why Giving Is Important To God

7 Reasons Why Giving Is Important To God

Giving is important to God. . .that’s why it should be important to us.

In fact, God sets giving apart from going to church. . .praying. . .even living a righteous life.

Genesis 8:22 in the King James Version says:

“While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.”

As long as the earth exists there will be temperature changes. . .cold and heat which establish the seasons of the year.

God is clearly saying that day and night. . .a separation of time will exist as long as the earth remains.  A time for working and a time for resting.

These are things that are so integral to our daily lives that to doubt their probability would be ridiculous. 

Yet, it is interesting to note that the very first thing listed in Genesis 8:22 is sowing and reaping.

Indeed, giving and receiving is one of the most powerful dynamics in the earth.  A force that is immoveable. . .just like days, seasons and temperature changes.

Here are seven powerful reasons why giving is important to God.

1.       We Worship God by Our Giving.

The sequence of worshipping God by giving is beautifully laid out in three verses in Psalm 116 beginning with verse 12 in the Classic Amplified Bible:

“What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits toward me? [How can I repay Him for all His bountiful dealings?]”

First, we Praise God for all His benefits. . .realizing that we can never repay Him for His manifold blessings in our lives. . .those received as well as those intended.

Psalm 116:14 in the New Living Translation says:

“I will keep my promises to the Lord in the presence of all his people.”

Unfortunately, we live in a society where promises don’t hold the value they once did. 

There was a time where “a man’s word was his bond” it ruled our conversations as well as our actions.  Sadly, that’s no longer the case.

Promises are too easily made and quickly broken. . .with seemingly no regret or thought about the consequences. But God doesn’t take a broken promise so lightly.

Ecclesiastes 5:1-7 in The Living Bible says:

“…Don’t be a fool who doesn’t even realize it is sinful to make rash promises to God…So when you talk to God and vow to him that you will do something, don’t delay in doing it, for God has no pleasure in fools.  Keep your promise to him.  It is far better not to say you’ll do something than to say you will and then not do it.  In that case, your mouth is making you sin.  Don’t try to defend yourself by telling the messenger from God that it was all a mistake (to make the vow).  That would make God very angry; and he might destroy your prosperity.  Dreaming instead of doing is foolishness, and there is ruin in a flood of empty words…

Seven powerful thoughts stirred in me as I read these verses.

First, if you make rash promises to God. . .you’re a fool. . .whether you realize it or not.

Second, if you delay in doing what you promised God. . .then you’re a fool and God will take no pleasure in you.

Third, it’s better to keep your mouth shut than commit to something you’re not going to do.

Fourth, never allow the words of your mouth to willingly lead you into sin.

Fifth, making excuses for your failure to do what you promised will just make God angry.

Sixth, your failure to follow through on what you say you’re going to do. . .and could destroy your prosperity.

Seventh,only talking about your dreams. . .instead of doing something about them. . .is foolishness.

Now. . .let’s look at the third scripture in our progression.  Psalm 116:17 says:

“I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord.”

As I was meditating on verse 17. . .God brought Philippians 4:6 in the Classic Amplified Bible to my remembrance as well.  It says:

“Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.”

Which led me to 2 Corinthians 9:11-12 in the Classic Amplified Bible which says:

“Thus you will be enriched in all things and in every way, so that you can be generous, and [your generosity as it is] administered by us will bring forth thanksgiving to God. For the service that the ministering of this fund renders does not only fully supply what is lacking to the saints (God’s people), but it also overflows in many [cries of] thanksgiving to God.” 

2.       We Please God by Our Giving.

Who do you want to please . . . your spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, best friend, neighbors, pastor, employer or most anybody you meet?

Truthfully, there is only one person you ever need to be concerned about pleasing because if He’s happy and well- pleased, you’ll find contentment in life.

The scriptures offer some very basic guidelines about how to give an offering that is well-pleasing to God.

Philippians 4:18 says:

“But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God.”

The offering that is well-pleasing to God is the one He tells you to give.

Whether what you give is big or small in your own eyes, the important thing to remember is to listen to the voice of the Lord and obey Him in the offering.

Way too many believers are tipping God because they think that’s what they can afford to sow or are in the habit of giving.  Ask God.  Only He knows what you need to reap down the road.

If God is not involved in your giving. . .it’s not well-pleasing to Him. . .He won’t accept it.  The church or ministry might accept your offering but God won’t.

Malachi 1:10 in the Classic Amplified Bible says:

“Oh, that there were even one among you [whose duty it is to minister to Me] who would shut the doors, that you might not kindle fire on My altar to no purpose [an empty, futile, fruitless pretense]! I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord of hosts, nor will I accept an offering from your hand.”

3.       Our giving allows God to act on our behalf.

Do you close and lock your windows at your home?  Of course, you do.

If I were to ask 100 people why they lock their windows. . .I’m sure the unanimous answer would be to keep thieves out.  To keep thieves from stealing what doesn’t belong to them.

That’s exactly what God is doing.  He has the windows of heaven locked to keep thieves out.

Malachi 3:8 in the Classic Amplified Bible says:

“Will a man rob or defraud God? Yet you rob and defraud Me. But you say, In what way do we rob or defraud You? [You have withheld your] tithes and offerings.”

Now let’s carefully read Malachi 3:10 in the Classic Amplified Bible:

“Bring all the tithes (the whole tenth of your income) into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and prove Me now by it, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”

Your giving of tithes and offerings requires God to open the windows of heaven over your life.

If you don’t tithe and give offerings the windows of heaven are closed, but if you tithe and give offerings the windows of heaven are open.

Opened or closed. . .it’s your choice.

4.       Our Giving thwarts the enemy’s plans.

I think it’s fair to say when your giving is spirit led, scripturally accurate. . .let me express it in modern vernacular … it really ticks off the devil.

First, he hates it when you sow because he knows. . .you will reap a harvest.

The enemy wants you to think that sowing is something that works for some people but not you.  He wants you to believe that you will never receive a harvest.

He knows if he can get you to doubt. . .he can keep you from receiving a harvest. . .thus neutralizing your financial effectiveness for the Kingdom of God.

The enemy knows that when you begin receiving harvests. . .you understand the potential you have for blessing others.  He does not want that to happen.

Second, the enemy creates false beliefs about money to rob you of your potential for success.

That’s why. . .the enemy promotes the ‘poverty is holy’ thought processes.

The idea that being rich was evil and being poor was godly originated after the death of Alexander the Great. 

There were orders of monks that rose up who took vows of poverty.  They were viewed by some others as super spiritual because of this vow.

The reality is that many so-called religious leaders did not want Christians following the teachings of Christ when it came to money.  If people are poor they become dependent upon those who are educated and have money.

In addition, a poor Christian can’t help anybody because they can’t even help themselves.

For centuries it was against the law to own a Bible because it kept the people dependent upon the rulers who controlled the church.

In the 1380s, John Wycliffe was instrumental in making copies of Bibles in different languages because the church was not preaching the whole Bible. 

The theology that to be poor meant you were godly originated as a desire to control rather than deliver the children of God. 

Let me say that again.

The theology that to be poor meant you were godly originated as a desire to control rather than deliver the children of God. 

The enemy wants you ignorant about seedtime and harvest. . . or increasing your money. . .and anything that will empower you to financial success and Kingdom use.

Romans 1:13 says:

“Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.”

Let’s make it clear. . .poverty is not a litmus test for holiness. . .but the enemy wants you to believe it is.  Why?

Consider the words of Ecclesiastes 9:16 in the Contemporary English Version which says:

“So I decided that wisdom is better than strength. Yet if you are poor, no one pays any attention to you, no matter how smart you are.”

The thing satan fears the most. . .is not a Christian living a righteous life. . .it’s a believer who understands how to use money for Kingdom purposes..

Money is an effective weapon in the hands of a knowledgeable giving Christian which is why satan has tried. . .somewhat successfully. . .to keep believers ignorant about giving.

The enemy knows that if every Christian tithed and gave offerings. . .then sin would be eliminated from the earth because God’s Word would be getting out.

So when you follow instructions for spirit led giving. . .things change in your life.

5.       God uses giving to get us out of trouble.

You remember the story of how Esau gave us his birthright to Jacob for food. . .how Jacob and his mother Rebekah deceived Isaac into thinking Jacob was Esau. . .so he would bless him as the first born.

When Esau discovered what Jacob had done. . .he was not a happy camper.

Genesis 27:41 says:

“And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob.”

You know that Jacob got out of Dodge (to use western movie vernacular). . .and how he was deceived and taken advantage of by his father-in-law, Laban, for twenty years.

Reaping what he himself had sowed.  However, during those years. . .he learned a thing or two and found out how to be blessed beyond measure.

God directed Jacob to return home.  Even though he was now a wealthy man. . .Jacob was fearful of how Esau would react to the news of his return.

Genesis 32:4-5 in the New Living Translation says:

“He told them, “Give this message to my master Esau: ‘Humble greetings from your servant Jacob. Until now I have been living with Uncle Laban, and now I own cattle, donkeys, flocks of sheep and goats, and many servants, both men and women. I have sent these messengers to inform my lord of my coming, hoping that you will be friendly to me.’”

The messengers returned to inform Jacob that Esau was coming to meet him with four hundred men.

Genesis 32:7-8 in the Classic Amplified Bible says:

”Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed; and he divided the people who were with him, and the flocks and herds and camels, into two groups, thinking, If Esau comes to the one group and smites it, then the other group which is left will escape.”

Then Jacob prayed and asked God to save his hide. . .which He confirmed He would do.

The next morning Jacob put together a pretty impressive gift of animals for his brother Esau.  He sent the gifts to him in three waves with a specific message to be given to Esau by his servants.

Genesis 32:20-21 in the Message Bible says:

“He thought, “I will soften him up with the succession of gifts. Then when he sees me face-to-face, maybe he’ll be glad to welcome me.”  So his gifts went before him while he settled down for the night in the camp.”

When Jacob finally meets Esau. . .there’s a powerful message found in Genesis 33:10 in the Message Bible which says:

“Jacob said, “Please. If you can find it in your heart to welcome me, accept these gifts. When I saw your face, it was as the face of God smiling on me. Accept the gifts I have brought for you. God has been good to me and I have more than enough.” Jacob urged the gifts on him and Esau accepted.” 

Jacob’s God-directed giving got him out of trouble with his brother Esau.

King David made a bad decision early in 2 Samuel 24 by taking a census of the people contrary to the wishes of God and the advice of his counselors.

2 Samuel 24:15 in the New Living Translation says:

“So the Lord sent a plague upon Israel that morning, and it lasted for three days.  A total of 70,000 people died throughout the nation, from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south.”

What stopped the plague on the children of Israel?

2 Samuel 24:25 in the New Living Translation says:

“David built an altar there to the Lord and sacrificed burnt offerings and peace offerings. And the Lord answered his prayer for the land, and the plague on Israel was stopped.”

6.       Our Giving Creates Moments Of Unlimited Blessings.

King Solomon gave a spontaneous offering which triggered a supernatural visitation and a blessing known throughout the ages.

2 Chronicles 1:6 says:

“And Solomon went up thither to the brazen altar before the Lord, which was at the tabernacle of the congregation, and offered a thousand burnt offerings upon it.

This was not a small offering.  Other people were coming up and making their offerings, and Solomon comes up and offers 1000 burnt offerings.

I don’t see anything in this text that says it was a festival time or that some direction was given for Solomon to do this. .

Solomon got the leaders together and said, “All right.  You come with me because I am going to offer some burnt offerings to the Lord.”

We don’t necessarily get the ramifications of this act in the King James text, but in Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible (page 452, section I, letter H if you want to know) it says that if this was a lamb, goat or ram, then the cost would be $20 apiece and would be equivalent to a $20,000 offering.  If it was a bull, then the cost is $325 each, so this would have been a $325,000 offering.  This wasn’t a little offering that Solomon gave.

Nothing is said concerning the taking of an offering.  Something moves upon Solomon and he says, “I’m going to worship God by giving Him an offering.”

Perhaps it was the teaching of giving and receiving he learned from his father, David, or perhaps an unction within him but Solomon recognized how to move the hand of God.

Now I want you to notice what happens.  He calls all the elders, takes them to them to the house of God and offers a thousand burnt offerings—a minimum offering of $20,000.  I want you to notice the very next verse. . .2 Chronicles 1:7 in the Classic Amplified Bible which says:

“That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, Ask what I shall give you.”

Something got God’s attention, didn’t it?

The God of heaven came down to Solomon in a night vision after he had done what he felt prompted to do.  He came to Solomon and said, “Solomon, just ask what you want.  What do you want me to do?”

Think about God asking you that question.  He comes and says, “What do you want?”  What moved God?  It was that offering.

Had this been a lot of people they would have said, “Thank you, Jesus!  I’m so glad you came!  I want a new car.  I want a new house.  I want a million dollars.  You know I’m not married, so I want a fine wife or husband.”

When God comes and manifests Himself, notice the humility of Solomon, because Solomon begins not by answering the request.  He begins by praising God.

2 Chronicles 1:8-10 says:

“And Solomon said unto God, Thou hast shewed great mercy unto David my father, and hast made me to reign in his stead.  Now, O Lord God, let thy promise unto David my father be established:  for thou hast made me king over a people like the dust of the earth in multitude.  Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people:  for who can judge this thy people, that is so great?”

You see, Solomon already had some wisdom operating in his life to even make a request like this, because the Bible tells us in the Book of Proverbs that wisdom will bring you riches and honor.  This might have been when he learned this valuable lesson that he later penned in the Proverbs.

Solomon humbly asked for wisdom.

2 Chronicles 1:11-12 says:

“God replied to Solomon, Because this was in your heart and you have not asked for riches, possessions, honor,andglory, or the life of your foes, or even for long life, but have asked wisdom and knowledge for yourself, that you may ruleandjudge My people over whom I have made you king,

“Wisdom and knowledge are granted you. And I will give you riches, possessions, honor,andglory, such as none of the kings had before you, and none after you shall have their equal.”

There are numerous other examples of the act of giving creating unlimited blessings. . .but time will only allow me to share this story of King Solomon.

7.       Giving Creates Conversation And Change

When you give. . .God likes to brag about you. . .especially when your giving isn’t convenient.

Philippians 4:14-15 says:

“Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction.  Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.”

The giving of the Macedonians is still speaking today.

The sacrifice of Abel is speaking today. . .long after his death.

Hebrews 11:4 in the Classic Amplified Bible says:

“[Prompted, actuated] by faith Abel brought God a better and more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, because of which it was testified of him that he was righteous [that he was upright and in right standing with God], and God bore witness by accepting and acknowledging his gifts. And though he died, yet [through the incident] he is still speaking.”

The alabaster box spoke to Christ. . . and is still speaking to us today.

Matthew 26:10 in the Classic Amplified Bible says:

“But Jesus, fully aware of this, said to them, Why do you bother the woman? She has done a noble (praiseworthy and beautiful) thing to Me.”

Matthew 26:13 in the Classic Amplified Bible says:

“Truly I tell you, wherever this good news (the Gospel) is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will be told also, in memory of her.”

The giving of Cornelius giving was recognized in heaven and has been creating conversation about memorial giving through the ages.

Acts 10:4 in the Classic Amplified Bible says:

“And he, gazing intently at him, became frightened and said, What is it, Lord? And the angel said to him, Your prayers and your [generous] gifts to the poor have come up [as a sacrifice] to God and have been remembered by Him.”

The list could go on. . .but let’s end withone final scripture.

Proverbs 24:12 in the New Living Translation says:

“Don’t excuse yourself by saying, “Look, we didn’t know.” For God understands all hearts, and he sees you. He who guards your soul knows you knew. He will repay all people as their actions deserve.”

God will repay us as our “actions deserve.”

Saint of the Day for Monday, May 20th, 2019

Saint of the Day for Monday, May 20th, 2019

St. Bernardine of Siena

Image of St. Bernardine of Siena

Facts

Feast day: May 20

In the year 1400, a young man came to the door of the largest hospital in Siena. A plague was raging through the city so horrible that as many as twenty people died each day just in the hospital alone. And many of the people who died were those who were needed to tend the ill. It was a desperate situation — more and more people were falling ill and fewer and fewer people were there to help them.

The twenty-year-old man who stood there had not come because he was ill but because he wanted to help. And he brought not new patients but young men like himself willing to tend the dying. For four months Bernardine and his companions worked day and night not only to comfort the patients but to organize and clean the hospital. Only at the end of the plague did Bernardine himself fall ill — of exhaustion.

But that was Bernardine’s way — whatever he did, he put his whole self into it. Immediately after he recovered he was back caring for the sick — but this time, he was responsible not for a whole hospital but one person — an invalid aunt. Yet for fourteen months she got his full attention. Throughout his life, he put as much energy into caring for one person as for hundreds, as much commitment into converting one citizen as to preaching to a whole city.

After his aunt died, Bernardine started to think about where his life should be going. The son of a noble family, he had been orphaned at seven and raised by an aunt. We are told as a young person that he hated indecent talk so much that he would blush when he heard it. Even his schoolmates hesitated to make him so uncomfortable but apparently one adult citizen thought it would be a great joke to needle Bernardine. In a public marketplace he stopped Bernardine and started to talk to him in a shameful way. But if he had thought to get away with his cruel trick, he was surprised when Bernardine slapped him in the face. The man slunk away, shamed in front of the very crowd he’d been trying to impress.

Bernardine, who had come to Siena to study, threw himself into prayer and fasting to discover what God wanted him to do. One might have expected him to continue his work with the sick but in 1403 he joined the Franciscans and in 1404 he was ordained a priest.

The Franciscans were known as missionary preachers, but Bernardine did very little preaching with because of a voice that was weak and hoarse. For twelve years he remained in the background, his energies going to prayer or to his own spiritual conversion and preparation.

At the end of that time, he went to Milan on a mission. When he got up to preach his voice was strong and commanding and his words so convincing that the crowd would not let him leave unless he promised to come back.

Thus began the missionary life of the one whom Pope Pius II called a second Paul. As usual, Bernardine through his whole self, body and soul, into his new career. He crisscrossed Italy on foot, preaching for hours at a time, several times a day. We are told he preached on punishment for sin as well as reward for virtue but focusing in the end on the mercy of Jesus and the love of Mary. His special devotion was to the Holy Name of Jesus.

Some who were jealous denounced him to the pope by saying he preached superstition. Silenced for a short while, Bernardine was soon cleared and back to preaching.

Bernardine refused several cities that wanted him as bishop but he was unable to avoid being named vicar general of his order. All his energy during that period went to renewing the original spirit of the order.

Soon, however, Bernardine heard the call to go back to preaching which consumed his last days. As a matter of fact, even when it was clear he was dying, he preached fifty consecutive days. He died in 1444 when he was almost 64 years old.Prayer:

Saint Bernardine of Siena, words were very important to you. You spent most of your life speaking the golden words of Jesus’ mercy and his Holy Name. And you abhorred words that were shameful. Pray for us that we may always choose to speak Jesus’ name with reverence and choose words of love over words of shame. Amen

10 Essential Truths about Christian Giving

10 Essential Truths about Christian Giving

Very often, people ask or wonder “what are the basic biblical principles for Christian giving?” As we seek God’s answer to that question and as we contemplate our own giving to the Lord’s church in response to the clear teaching of His Word, perhaps it would be wise and helpful to review those principles here.

First, let us go to the Word of God itself, without comment:

Matthew 6:1-4 Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

1 Corinthians 16:1-2 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also. On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come.

2 Corinthians 8:9-15 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich. I give my opinion in this matter, for this is to your advantage, who were the first to begin a year ago not only to do this, but also to desire to do it. But now finish doing it also, so that just as there was the readiness to desire it, so there may be also the completion of it by your ability. For if the readiness is present, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. For this is not for the ease of others and for your affliction, but by way of equality – at this present time your abundance being a supply for their need, so that their abundance also may become a supply for your need, that there may be equality; as it is written, “HE WHO gathered MUCH DID NOT HAVE TOO MUCH, AND HE WHO gathered LITTLE HAD NO LACK.”

2 Corinthians 9:6-7 Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

In our review of these four New Testament passages, we find at least ten principles for Christian giving.

1. The Lord Jesus expects and requires us to give. Jesus said to His disciples, “when you give” not “if you give” (Matthew 6:2)! Hence, Christian giving is not optional, but rather essential. We often hear folks say: “in the Old Testament they had to give, but not in the New – now we only give if we want to.” This is clearly not Jesus’ teaching. He expected all His followers to be givers. Christians will give. Are you giving?

2. The Lord Jesus wants us to give for the right reasons. Jesus warned His disciples not to give for the sake of being admired by men. “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them,” He said (Matthew 6:1). When we give, we must be careful to examine our motives. We ought to give for the glory of God and the good of His people. We must desire His approval of our giving, rather than the praise and admiration of people. Are you giving for God’s praise or man’s?

3. The Lord Jesus wants us to practice benevolent or charitable giving. Jesus said “When you give to the poor . . . .” (Matthew 6:2-3). Jesus is specifically teaching about “alms” in this passage: aid, charity, or benevolent offerings for the needy. Do you give amply enough to the Church that she can be generous in benevolent giving?

4. The Lord Jesus reminds us that our giving is ultimately to the all-seeing heavenly Father.Jesus said “When you give . . . ; your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:3-4). When we give, we are not simply adding to the Church budget, we are giving up a thank offering to the Father Himself. Thus, we must all give “as unto the Lord.” Our ultimate goal in giving is to please Him. Are you conscious of the fact that your giving is to the Lord and seen by the Lord?

5. The Bible teaches that Christian giving is an act of worship. In connection with the previous point, we see this truth stressed in another way in Paul’s word’s “On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save” (1 Corinthians 16:2). Paul here teaches the Corinthians that their taking up of the collection is an act of worship which is to be a part of their regular Lord’s Day worship. When we put our money in the plate, we are worshiping Almighty God in accordance with His Word. Note well, Paul is speaking here of a “collection for the saints” – this is giving by the Church to the Church for the Church. Did you realize that giving is a part of worship? Is your worship in this area abundant or inhibited? Is giving to the Church a priority with you?

6. The Bible teaches that Christian giving should be done in light of the incarnation. Many Christians argue about whether the tithe (10% of our income) is still the standard for our giving to the Church (disputants usually want to show that less than 10% is fine). Paul scuttles the whole debate in one verse. He says: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9). Christ’s self-giving is now the standard for our giving! We begin from the base of the tithe and aim for emulation of His self-sacrifice. Our giving is to be inspired and instructed by Christ’s inexpressible gift. In light of such a challenge, who could possibly satisfy himself with asking “how little a percentage is acceptable for me to give?” Do you try to get by with giving as little as possible to the Lord, or do you give in view of the Lord’s costly sacrifice?

7. The Bible teaches that Christian giving should be done in accordance with our means. Paul is quite clear on this: “For if the readiness is present, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have” (2 Corinthians 8:12). Put another way Paul is saying that you should give in proportion to what God has given you. He said it this way in 1 Corinthians 16:2, “each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper.” This means at least two things: (1) since we are all supposed to give proportionately, those who have more money are expected to give more [we who are particularly blessed materially must remember this], and (2) the Lord never asks us to give what we do not have, or contribute beyond our means. Are you really giving in proportion to the material blessings that the Lord has given you?

8. The Bible teaches that the liberality of God’s blessings to us is connected to the liberality of our Christian giving. Though it may seem strange, both Jesus and Paul emphasize that there is a relation between our giving to the Lord and the Lord’s giving to us. As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 9:6 “Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” About this matter J.A. Beet once said: “They who in giving think, not how little they can give, as they would if self-enrichment were the aim, but of benefits to be conferred, will receive back on the same principle. As they do to others, so God will act to them.” Jesus reminds us of this in Matthew 6:4, where He teaches that our reward in giving comes from our heavenly Father. As someone once said: “The desire to be generous and the means to be generous both come from God.” Do you realize that the Lord has given you much, so that you can give much?

9. The Bible teaches that Christian giving must be willing giving, free giving. We learn this in 2 Corinthians 9:7 “Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion.” But doesn’t this contradict what we learned under the first principle, that Christian giving is not optional? The answer is, of course, no. True Christian giving is both mandatory and voluntary. It is required by God, but always willingly given by the believer. Is your giving to the Church something you do wholeheartedly, or indifferently, or grudgingly?

10. The Bible teaches that Christian giving ought to be cheerful giving. As Paul says “God loves a cheerful giver.” This is a truly amazing assertion. Paul assures us here that the Lord takes a special delight in those who are joyful, energetic, merry givers. Is there joy in your heart as you give? Can you truly be characterized as a “cheerful giver”?

We have not come close to reaching our potential for giving. Won’t you pray that we will give as we ought? That we will give for the right motives? That we will give joyously? And that we will give extravagantly.

5 Extraordinary Stories About Giving

5 Extraordinary Stories About Giving

As a reader of ChristianPF, I assume that you agree with this statement: “Even if you pay off every debt, build a fully funded emergency fund, invest wisely for retirement, save for your children’s college fund, and pay off your house early, you could still be missing the most important personal finance principle: giving!

But agreeing and becoming a zealous giver are not the same thing. Hopefully, these amazing stories will inspire you (and me) to become better givers.

1. The Man Who Gave 90 Percent

R. G. LeTourneau (1888 – 1969) was a Christian industrialist who dedicated his life to “being a businessman for God.” He was hugely successful, designing and developing his own line of earth-moving equipment.

LeTourneau was the maker of nearly 300 inventions, and had hundreds of patents in his lifetime. As he succeeded financially, he increased his giving to the point where he was giving 90% of his income to the Lord’s work.

I shovel out the money, and God shovels it back—but God has a bigger shovel. – R. G. LeTourneau

You may be thinking, “I could give 90% too if I was a multi-millionaire.” Maybe so, but LeTourneau didn’t start out wealthy.

A gentle challenge: Whatever percentage of your income you are currently giving, make a lifelong plan to bump that percentage with every opportunity.

2. The Poor Widow Whose Giving Impresses Jesus

Sometimes the sacrifice speaks louder than the size of the gift, as in this story:

Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.

Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

– Mark 12:41-45 NIV

A gentle challenge: Consider increasing your giving (whether money, time, or talents) beyond mere convenience and into the realm of sacrifice.

3. The Priest of Auschwitz

During the Second World War, Polish Priest Maximilian Kolbe was arrested by the German Gestapo for hiding Jews and Polish refugees from the Nazis. When three prisoners disappeared from the Auschwitz concentration camp, the deputy camp commander issued orders to pick ten men to be starved to death in order to deter further escape attempts. One of these ten, Franciszek Gajowniczek, began to cry out, “My wife! My children! I will never see them again!” At this point, Kolbe stepped forward, removed his cap, and said, “I am a Catholic Priest. Let me take his place. I am old. He has a wife and children.” Amazingly, the commander allowed the request.

In the starvation cell, he celebrated Mass each day and sang hymns with his fellow prisoners. After two weeks of dehydration and starvation, only Kolbe remained alive. Because the cell was needed for other prisoners, he was given a lethal injection. Those present say he raised his left arm and calmly waited for the injection.

A gentle challenge: Keep your mind open about how you may serve others. Avoid self-imposed limitations . . . God may have something bigger in store for you.

4. A Pastor’s Act of Kindness Saves Three

The following story is told in more detail by Ilene Wright. Here is my abbreviated version:

Years ago, Ilene’s preacher noticed the family standing in front of him at a New Orleans convenience store did not have enough money to pay for their few items. He tapped the man on the shoulder and said, “You don’t need to turn around, but please accept this money.” The man took the money without ever seeing the preacher.

Nine years later, the pastor was invited to speak at a church in New Orleans. After the service, a man walked up to the preacher and shared this story about how he had come to faith in Christ: “Several years ago, my wife and our child were destitute. We had lost everything, had no jobs, no money and were living in our car. We also lost all hope, and agreed to a suicide pact, including our child. However, we decided to first give our son some food, so we drove to a convenience store to buy him some food and milk.”

“While we were standing in line at the store, we realized that we did not have enough money to pay for these items, but a man behind us asked us to please take the money from his hand and not look at him. This man told us that ‘Jesus loves you.’”

“We left the store, drove to our designated suicide site, and wept for hours. We couldn’t go through with it, so we drove away. As we drove, we noticed a church with a sign out front which said, ‘Jesus love you.’ We went to that church the very next Sunday, and both my wife and I were saved that day.”

He then told the pastor, “When you began speaking this morning, I knew immediately that you were the man who gave us that money.” How did he know? The pastor was from South Africa and had a very distinct accent. He continued, “Your act of kindness was much more than a simple good deed. Three people are alive today because of it.”

A gentle challenge: Maintain your spiritual antennae, remembering that God can multiply the smallest gift many times over.

5. The Father Who Gave His Most Precious Possession

There once was a father who loved his children, but they didn’t love him. One after another left their father’s house, vowing never to return. Finally, the father had a son who reciprocated that love. This son honored, respected, and obeyed his father. The father was thrilled, but he still mourned over his other children who had rejected him. He then came up with a plan – a risky plan: “I will give up my beloved son to make room in my house for my wayward children to return. Hopefully, they will realize my love for them and come back home.”

You may recognize this vignette as the story told in the book of John:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16 NIV

No list of extraordinary giving stories could be complete without including this one. I hope you agree.

A gentle challenge: Commit your family to the Lord – no strings attached.

Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” My hope is that you experience this blessedness that Jesus promises.

What motivates you to give? Which of these stories speaks most deeply to you? Do you have an amazing giving story to share? Leave a comment below!