A question I have started asking myself is why do I give? I believe it is very important to understand why I give. I constantly want to check my heart and make sure I am giving for the right reasons. This is something that if I am not careful can be very unhealthy for me. It may sound weird to say giving can be unhealthy but if it is from a wrong heart and for the wrong reasons it can be destructive to you. We see a clear example of this in Acts chapter 5. Ananias and his wife Sapphira gave out of a wrong heart and it was deadly for them. They had the wrong motives when giving. Am I saying that if you give out of the wrong motives that God is going to strike you dead? Probably not, this is not how God usually operates. But we still need to be careful of our motives. For me, I have gone through healthy seasons and unhealthy seasons of giving. I want to talk about me and the unhealthy seasons I have had and what my motives were.
I gave out of a sense of obligation. I believed that God needed my money and if I didn’t give then God wouldn’t be able to grow His kingdom. If you want an enlightened text of why I was so wrong, read Job chapter 38. In that chapter you see how in control God really is. It is his kingdom. He is in complete control and doesn’t need anything from me for his kingdom to grow. Jonah chapter 2 verse 9 says “Salvation belongs to the Lord”. This is very important to remember. It’s not by our money or our works.
I gave because I believed that God was going to pay me back. I was expecting something in return. My heart was saying, “God I am going to give this to you so you will give me more back.” Now does God sometimes give us more back than what we gave? Yes, of course, there are times of that. But does that mean I should give because I expect God to give me more back? By no means, that shouldn’t be our heart. For me I misunderstood Malachi chapter 3 verse 10. In it God says to bring the full tithe and to put him to the test. He said he will pour down a blessing until there is no more need. The last word in there is where I missed it. He said no more NEED. He didn’t say no more wants. I totally missed it. God is faithful to meet our needs. He didn’t say I will meet your wants. So what do we need? We need Jesus!
I gave because I wanted people to know that I gave. I wanted people to think that I was more holy than I was. Really I wasn’t putting God first. I was putting what men thought of me first. I wanted pats on the back. I was like the Pharisees that stood on the corners and prayed where everyone could hear them. Who would sink their face in and put on sackcloth so that people would know they were fasting. I was the same person. I wanted to be the guy that gave a lot so people thought I was awesome. Jesus sums up who I was in Matthew 6 and also tells us how we should act when giving. Verses 1-4: “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
So for me I struggled for quite a while with why I should give. By God’s grace, his patience, and the continuing sanctification, I believe, I now give for healthy reasons.
Below are the reasons I now give:
I trust Jesus. Did I trust Jesus when I was in an unhealthy season of giving? Yes and No. I trusted him for my salvation, but I didn’t surrender all to him. I didn’t trust him with my money. So we could say that I trusted him, but not fully. Now I trust him completely in my money. (Not saying their aren’t days where I question or am fearful.) I have seen Him be faithful with me. I have seen him be patient with me. I have watched him meet my needs. Not all my wants but my needs. Now has he blessed me where I have been able to get some wants.
I want to be faithful to what God has entrusted me with. 1 Timothy chapter 6 verses 17-19 sum this up really well. “As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.” God has blessed us with money and entrusted us with it. So the question is are you being generous? Are you sharing? Do you remember that your treasure is in Heaven? Reading the above text someone could say that I am not rich. To that I would say, if you live in the US you are in the top 10% of the world. You are rich!
I want to see the Gospel go forth. In my unhealthy reasons that I gave I said that I believed that God needed my money. Again, I want to reiterate that God doesn’t need my money. But, my money is something that God has given me and, again, entrusted me with so I want to see God’s gospel go forth. I want to see more people saved. How does God primarily save His people? Through the local church. For a church to run, guess what? It needs money. Here is where a lot of people including myself have gone about things wrong. We hate to hear the church talk about money and needing money. Has the church always done great in this area? Not always but if you are in Bible teaching, Jesus loving church, ran by Jesus loving elders. I ask that you trust them. And if you are having trouble with that, meet with them. I will tell you at GCC our books are open for any member to look at. You can see where our money goes. At GCC we want to be above reproach in this area.
I want to help the poor. I give because I want those who have needs to have their needs met. For too long those who have needed help have gone to the government for help instead of the church. I want to give so that the church can help people with their needs. In Acts chapter 2 we see the believers selling their possessions and giving to those that have need. I give because of that I want to see the same thing happening at GCC. At GCC we have a benevolence account for any of our members who have need that we can help by paying a bill if they can’t meet it. I have seen someone give a car from our church to someone who didn’t have a car. Those are the reasons I give. I want to be able to do the same things for someone else.
In summary, giving is something that I haven’t always done right. But, God has worked in me to see my sin. I pray that in reading this that Holy Spirit would show you where your heart is. If your heart isn’t in the right place I pray that God does a mighty work in you like he did me. I pray that we be a generous people that give out of love. I want to close with 1 Corinthians chapter 9 verses 7-8 “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”
– Chris Hanie (A Husband, Father, and Deacon who is in love with Jesus.)