Most people have heard preachers and ministers talk about giving. Giving is one of the primary principles taught by Jesus Christ. However, some preachers and ministers promote the wrong reasons to give. Their messages seem to appeal to people’s greed or need instead of the true purpose for giving. We are told to give expecting a return of 10 fold etc. We are told that if we have a need, we can give an offering to their
ministry and expect to receive more than what we expected. This is not the reason to give. In fact, prompted by the motivation of gain is not giving. It’s investing. Giving is a reward in itself and expects nothing in return.
We are instructed in the Bible, in the Book of Malachi, to bring a tenth of what we have to God’s storehouse. This is essential for each believer. This shows that you are thankful for what you have been given. This is not the subject of this article. I want to approach what we need to do beyond what we are obligated to do. In the Old Testament, the children of God, those chosen by Him, are instructed many times about ‘giving’ and the reasons. In Leviticus we find that the farmers were told to leave the ‘corners’ of their fields (no less that one sixth) for the poor to harvest for their use. Vineyard owners are told not to take all of the bunches of grapes and not to pick up what has fallen to the ground. This was left for the poor to harvest for their needs. These are examples of God ordained giving.
Giving is an essential part of your Christian life. In the account of the young rich man’s encounter with Christ we are given a principle that is critical to proving our trust in God’s promises to us in His Holy Scripture.
Mark 10:17-30 (New American Standard Bible)
17 As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.
19 “You know the commandments, ‘DO NOT MURDER, DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, DO NOT STEAL, DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, Do not defraud, HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER.’”
20 And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.”
21 Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” (Jesus was giving, out of love, the very best instruction. In actuality the material things (the money, property, etc.) are not the issue here. Jesus wanted the young man to shift his focus from his possessions to Him.)
22 But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property. ( The rich young man and most others who have not been instructed in the true meaning of these Scriptures, are focused on what they possess. They have been instructed in the Laws but not in the essence of the Laws. These are the same who pray for God to bless them but not for the benefit of others, for their personal benefit. They do not understand ‘trust.’ When we trust our own devices and our own physical abilities, our focus is on these. When we trust in Christ and His love for us and His promises to us, our focus is fully on Him. We cannot serve two masters. Jesus told us this.)
23 And Jesus, looking around, said to His disciples, “How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!” (Indeed, it is ‘hard’ for a wealthy man to enter into the Kingdom, not impossible. A wealthy man who focuses his attention solely on Christ can easily find the salvation that he needs.)
24 The disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!
25 “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
26 They were even more astonished and said to Him, “Then who can be saved?” (A matter of trust.)
27 Looking at them, Jesus said, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.”
28 Peter began to say to Him, “Behold, we have left everything and followed You.”
29 Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake,
30 but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life. (This is an amazing promise. This is also a promise that is distorted by modern preaching. Jesus lets us know right here that we can have great abundance ‘here nor in the present age’ no matter how much we give.)
The principle that Christ wants us to understand here is that, when we look beyond our wants and need and look toward the needs of those who are less fortunate, we demonstrate trust in Him. When we are able to give without concern for our well being, we show that we trust God’s promise to us to provide what we need.
Everything that exists belongs to Gpd. The money and property that you may have earned or acquired does not belong to you. God has only granted you ’stewardship’ of these things. There is a difference between stewardship and ownership. God wants us to focus on Him and Him alone. He wants us to depend on Him and Him alone. He wants us to ‘test’ Him and His promises. He wants us to diligently study His Word and to pray constantly (communicate with Him.) Giving is the ‘key’ to receiving and NOT the motivation for giving. Giving expects nothing in return. Giving is its own reward. This is hard to understand until you experience it.