We like to place our values on commitment, hard work, stewardship, and providing for our families. These are all noble ideas. Yet when it comes to giving or generosity, we tend to be a little hesitant, wanting to make sure we don’t “go crazy”… you know, in the name of “wisdom” and “responsibility”.
While there can be an element of truth to this, we may be using these words to cover up for “fear” or “self-preservation” that are rooted in our hearts. However, the more we learn about who God is, we quickly learn this is the opposite of how He gives.
Amazingly, in His wisdom and kindness towards us, God allows us to use our own measure of generosity towards others. By doing so, He provides a constant opportunity for us to readjust our standards. It’s a theme repeated throughout the Bible.
FAITHFUL IN LITTLE
The theme of giving and receiving is more than just a financial principle. The Bible gives many examples of how it can be applied universally. If we bless Israel, we will be blessed; if we curse Israel, we will be cursed (Gen 12:3). If we don’t forgive others, we ourselves will not be forgiven (Matt 6:15). We will be judged according to the measure we judge others (Matt 7:2). If we bring the tithe, the storehouses of heaven are opened (Mal 3:10).
Whether resulting in positive or negative outcomes, we get back what we give out. Try it for yourself. Do you need more grace and mercy in your relationships? Look for opportunities to give grace and mercy to those that don’t deserve it. Do you wonder why your friends keep a distance? Try being the vulnerable friend to others, like the one you are looking for. Are you in over year head with your business? Find ways to serve and be generous when others ask for your help.
When we are faithful with little, we are given more. This amazing principle is dependent on our own decisions and actions.
This is a profound aspect of discipleship that is rooted in a foundational characteristic of God. To state the obvious, there is no one more generous than God. As we are becoming more like Him, we will find we are becoming more generous as well. It is at the very core of the gospel message. When God saw our sin, He didn’t pull back but in the most generous and selfless acts ever, gave His only Son on our behalf – to a people who didn’t ask for it or know that they needed it.
After the most memorable feast of Shavuot (Pentecost), when the Holy Spirit had taken up residence in their hearts, followers of Jesus were not in need, because people were selling their things to make sure all we cared for (Acts 4:32-35). As a result, the new believers were being multiplied daily. Later in the book of Acts, when there was a prophetic word about a coming famine, the early church didn’t start to horde to survive. Instead, it responded in generosity and took up an offering for the believers in that area (Acts 11:28-30).
The more active we allow God to be in our lives and the closer we walk with Him, the more generous towards others we will become. The blessings of God overtake us, and with new responsibility and authority we are also given enough to give where He leads us.
MATTER OF THE HEART
The process of generosity can be seen all throughout Scripture. In Genesis, Abraham gives a one-time gift of a tenth (or a tithe) to Melchizedek. In the time of Moses, this amount increases significantly. Per Moses’ instructions, Israel was to give 10% to the priests (Numbers 18:21-26), 10% towards the feasts (Deut 14:22-27), and every 3 years another 10% to the poor (Deut 14:28-29). That totals 23.3% annually.
By the end of Jesus’s ministry, He is teaching his disciples that if they don’t give everything, they aren’t worthy of Him. In light of that progression, it appears that giving 10% is just the starting point. If we want to inherit the world, we give it all – just as He did…
The truth of the matter is, this is not about tithing or even money, but where our hearts are. Jesus said that where our treasure is, there our hearts will be as well. The widow’s 2 mites were the most valuable gift. It was the precious oil broken over Jesus feet that was more valuable than selling it at a high price. It was the good Samaritan’s gift of time and compassion towards the injured man that the others were unwilling to give that stirred the heart of the Lord.
CLOSER TO HIM
If money is tight for us, then let’s look to give extravagantly in our businesses, of our time, in forgiveness, or in however else He leads.
Whatever we give, may it not be just out of obligation, but because it is a doorway to draw closer to the Lord and minister to His heart. We’ll find ourselves walking in greater authority and have access to more of what we need. If obedience is indeed better than sacrifice, then let Him lead you to be more and more generous, in pursuit of his heart. As freely as you have received – give! And then watch what He will do.
Because of generous partners like you, lives are changing in Israel. Watch more stories of the impact of your partnership, and learn about ways you can partner with us HERE.
This article originally appeared on FIRM’s website and reposted with permission