Posts tagged christianity

What is giving

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.)

MH900400138The 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.

God’s Rules

Precepts are rule or laws or principles by which we need to live our lives. A promise is defined in the dictionary as: an express assurance on which expectation is to be based. God has given us His precepts and His promises in order that we can live a successful life as His children; not just in the life to come but in this present life.

The first precept and promise made that we will consider is in Proverbs 3:6 (Amplified.) “In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.” The precept or principle is to acknowledge Him, our one and true living God. The promise that follows this is that He (God) will direct our path. All that is asked of us is that we acknowledge God as our God, the Master and the Creator of the Universe and Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son and our Savior. In John 3:16 we are assured that all we have to do is believe in Jesus Christ, given to us through His Love for us, and we are promised life eternal with Him. There is no greater promise than the promise of salvation.

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God promises us that He will open the windows of Heaven and shower us with blessing so great that we will not have room to contain them.

God promises us that He will open the windows of Heaven and shower us with blessing so great that we will not have room to contain them.

The second precept and promise that we want to consider is found in Psalms 37:4 (Amplified.) “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart.” When we say delight yourself, what do we mean? Delight means to give or receive or take great pleasure in something or someone. It is easy to understand that when something gives us great pleasure it become the center of our attention. It becomes the object of our affection and something sought after. When we concentrate (focus) our attention on Christ, we begin to be filled with His joy. We begin to realize the extent to which He provides immeasurable pleasure and happiness in our lives. The more pleasure (joy) that is Christ that fills our lives the more He delights us. When we delight (find joy immeasurable) in God, He gives us the desire and secret petitions of our heart. This does not mean the fleshy materialistic desires. Those materialistic desires seem to fade away as we realize the essence of our relationship with God. The new car or bigger house or big bank accounts are not as important as our desire to be the conduit of God’s blessings to others. We begin to desire to accomplish His will. The amazing part of this is that when we put aside the desire for things the more He blesses us with greater things.

This, in effect, leads to our third precept and promise that we find in the Holy Scripture. When we are obedient we realize the satisfaction of accomplishing our part in the laen of God. Isaiah 1:19 tells us that “If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land.” If we are willing to obey God’s Laws and to do the work that God has purposed us for, our rewards are unbelievable. He also tells us that obedience is better than sacrifice. By obeying God’s Commandments we demonstrate our willingness to be His children. When we obey God’s precepts, we honor Him. When we obey God’s Laws, we bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. If we are willing to do and to obey God, He will bless us beyond our imagining.

In this physical life that we are living now, the burdens of simply living sometimes bear heavily on our shoulders. There is a precept and a promise that we find in Matthew 11:29 that gives a definite solution to this. Jesus told us “Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls.” When we do as He says (His precept,) we are assured of rest and ease to the situations in our lives. He will help us bear under the weight of the burdens in our lives.

This brings us to a similar precept and promise that assures us that life can be dealt with in a manner that will be rewarding and bring us great satisfaction. The precept is to seek and the promise is a promise of fulfillment. We read in Matthew 6:33 “But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides.” When we seek first the Kingdom of Heaven, God’s Holiness, everything that we need and want is added to us. This is such good news. We are to keep Christ as our focus, not wealth or property or things. When we focus on the Creator, all of creation is at our fingertips, without having to divert our attention to it.

Another principle that carries a magnificent promise is found in Malachi 3:10. “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.” God promises us that He will open the windows of Heaven and shower us with blessing so great that we will not have room to contain them. All we have to do is give back to Him 1/10th of what He has already given us. Everything that we will ever have already belongs to God. He wants to test our willingness to follow His precepts. He wants us to prove Him.

Ezekiel 11:20 gives us a glimpse into the world that God has planned for us. “That they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances, and do them. And they shall be My people, and I will be their God.” When we follow all of God’s precepts, live by all of His Laws, we will be His people and He will be our God. What a wonderful state of affairs. When we are God’s people, we are in God’s favor. When He is our God, all of His bounty is laid before us. True and lasting success can only be found when God, The Almighty Creator of the Universe, is our God.