As Christians we’re taught that it’s better to give than it is to receive. Many of us have been trained to give in obedience and in reverence to the Lord regardless of our own personal circumstances. We give out of our own needs until it hurts – but is this really what God wants us to do? Is there ever a time when giving is wrong?
Many Christians take money that they’ve allotted for their mortgage, bills or groceries and give it as benevolence offerings that the church leaders have asked for. The scripture in Luke 21:4 talks about the poor woman who gave her last coins and it’s one that has become imprinted on our minds to the point that many of us believe we need to stay in a state of poverty to be righteous. So, we often give far more than we can really afford – and the bad thing about this way of giving is that we don’t always give with a happy heart.
Giving is just part of being a Christian and it’s our nature to want to share with others, to want to help others and to bless others. But sometimes the act of giving is ruined when it’s not done out of love and when it’s done for the wrong reasons because then it’s not pleasing to God. Giving should always be done with joy and thanksgiving.
We need to know what to give and how much to give so that our giving IS pleasing to God, and this is a key issue in being a Godly giver that is often overlooked. Too often, we give what we can’t afford simply because we’re told to and we feel that we have to be obedient. But we need to ask ourselves, “Who are we being obedient to?”
Every time we give anything to anyone it should be done in love for the Lord and with a compassion for the ones we’re giving to. We need to establish in our heart whether this giving is what God wants us to do or if it’s what man wants us to do. God instructs us to give out of our abundance, so when we give away the things that we need to live ourselves, then our joy often disappears. And when we lose our joy because the sacrifice we gave in giving is hurting our own household, then we have to realize that this wasn’t something that the Lord inspired.
God tells us in 2 Corinthians 8:14, “But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality.”
In Matthew 10:8 we’re told that “freely ye have received, freely give.” So, giving from our abundance – anything over and above what we “need” to live ourselves – would be something that God expects us to do. And it would be something that we CAN do with a cheerful and thankful heart.
Some church doctrines have instructed us to give out of our own need and they use the scripture from Galatians 6:7 that tells us we reap what we sow. They insist that if we want to see our own financial needs met, we should give money that’s meant for those needs as a seed planted. The problem with this concept is that we give away the supply that the Lord has given to US to live, as stated in Philippians 4:19. And then our own lack causes our hearts to not only hurt, but to be angry because we are now going without – and yet….God gave us what we needed in the first place. We can’t get angry at Him or anyone else when He’s provided for us and we choose to give it away.
When we give away things that we need, how has God’s family been blessed? Taking from Peter to give to Paul does not help anyone when we’re left to hurt and suffer from our own lack. In God’s eyes, He still has a child hurting.
Sometimes we don’t have physical things to give to anyone, but giving doesn’t start and stop with material things. We can pray the fervent prayer of a righteous man for those in need and watch as God sends givers across their path. It doesn’t always have to be us doing the giving. God instructs us in Luke 10:2 to pray for each other, and to pray for laborers because the people are ready to receive from God and the time of the harvest is at hand.
Yet, there are times when we willfully and with great joy will give out of our own need, but when we do we don’t have any regrets or sorrows. Why? Because the love in our heart to bless someone is so great that we are happy to share even from our own need. We know and love the Lord enough to trust Him that He will in turn bless us back. We were able to give with a cheerful heart because we did it in love for the ones we gave to, knowing that HE will take care of us.
When we give from our own needs because “man” is expecting us to give, and that giving causes stress, anguish and anger in our lives, and our families to suffer and our joy to be lost, then we have to know that we are not giving to God. God isn’t pleased with us for making an unnecessary sacrifice that has given us sorrow and pain.
God IS pleased with us for giving, though, and He blesses us greatly when we do it with a happy heart.
“Every man according as he purposes in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loves a cheerful giver.” … 2 Corinthians 9:7