Tag Archives: Giving

Better Giving = Better Hearts

October 21, 2015

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The Lord hates sacrifices brought by evil people,
particularly when they offer them for the wrong reasons. – Proverbs 21:27 NCV

God intended from the beginning for his people to be givers. That is, the kind of giver that does so honestly and willingly. Working around the spirit of godly giving is very disappointing to him.

One example is David. David refused to offer a sacrifice to God that he did not own. (2 Samuel 24:18ff) He understood that it’s not a sacrifice until we sacrifice something.

On the other side of the spectrum are Ananias and Sapphira. They tried to get credit for more than they gave. (Acts 5:1-11) They understood only the personal gain they would get out of the deal.

When God required the tithe from the Jews, and when he required the first day of the week offering for Christians, he was teaching us to be givers.

Giving changes us. It is about so much more than the money.

give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you. – Luke 6:38 ESV

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5 Bits of Guidance for Helping Others

June 16, 2014

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The Good Samaritan - ~1633 - Rembrandt (1606–1669)

The Good Samaritan – ~1633 – Rembrandt (1606–1669)

“Helping others” is a touchy subject among most people.

Each individual has their own definition of what it means to help, how much they can help and indeed, who deserves help.

So who do we help and how do we know when we are Scripturally required to do so?

Outside of the framework of the church, it is argued politically how much help should come from the government. Appeals to human decency are weighed against abuses of the system of redistribution. The only clear result is people take sides and argue more about it – and we still have people in need.

Inside the framework of the church, many get tired of the requests for help. The constant flow of “needs” and “misfortunes” from the communities surrounding a church facility make it hard to distinguish between the occasional real need and those working the system. In order to protect the resources of the church from “thieves,” they are often distributed too sparingly – and we still have people in need.

How do we, as individuals or the church, deal with this? Loving our neighbor is a mandate that is equal to loving God. (Matthew 22:39)

Jesus wrapped a lesson on how to help others and to what extent in the parable of the Good Samaritan. (Luke 10:25-37) This parable is the gold standard of what it means to “Love thy Neighbor” by showing unlimited compassion for a complete stranger.

It takes that level compassion to properly show our love to God!

Each person should work through the idea of helping others on their own. Here are some relevant Scriptures to help with that:

  • Luke 6:38 – How generous giving is rewarded
  • Galatians 6:10 – The church is instructed to “do good to all“, but especially other Christians.
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:10 – Often used as a reason NOT to help others, but the context is much more than that. Be careful here.
  • James 2:15 – Telling someone you’ll pray for their situation (or they just need to have faith in God) isn’t very helpful when they are hungry. One needs to take some action.
  • Acts 2:45 – The new Christians were selling stuff they owned to help sustain other new Christians as the church grew.

I’ve given just the main verses, don’t forget to go look at the context for each of these. The context definitely key.

As to what to tell you the answer is, I’ll leave the Scriptures to do that. “Helping others” is a lifelong pursuit that a Christian has to grow into. To get to the level of the Good Samaritan, we all have a lot of growing to do!


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6 Critical Moments in Giving History

June 9, 2014

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The Death of Ananias - 1515 - Raphael (1483–1520)

The Death of Ananias – 1515 – Raphael (1483–1520)

Ananias and Sapphira “overstated” their contribution. (Acts 5:1-6)

There they were, on the edge of doing something good and right, and they let their ego get bigger than their heart.

Look what Solomon says about that:

The Lord hates sacrifices brought by evil people,
particularly when they offer them for the wrong reasons. – Proverbs 21:27 NCV

The bible talks a lot about our money and our giving. More than most other subjects even. He wanted us to be good givers – givers that think nothing of the rewards.

Here are the critical moments of some famous giving in the Bible. Think about what must have been on their heart as you check the verses:

Poor examples:

  • The Rich Young Ruler: Mark 10:18-22
  • Judas: John 12:3-6
  • Ananias and Sapphira: Acts 5:1-2

Good Examples:

  • Barnabas: Acts 4:36-37
  • The Poor Widow: Mark 12:41-44
  • David: 2 Samuel 24:24

David may have made the most stinging statement of all – The gist of it is “It’s not a sacrifice if I didn’t make a sacrifice.”

In the end, will your giving really count?

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3 Ways to a Giving Heart

April 22, 2014

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The Widow's Mite - João Zeferino da Costa 1840-1916

The Widow’s Mite – João Zeferino da Costa 1840-1916

Jesus talked a lot about money. (In fact the whole Bible does throughout the Old and New Testaments)

I think it is interesting that the account of the widow’s mite is the last recorded teaching Jesus made in public. (Luke 21:1-4) The timeline from this point leads quickly to his crucifixion.

Why would the widow’s giving be Jesus’ last words on how to please God?

Because her gift told us much about the proper attitude of a Christian. I can think of at least three reasons for us to give like her:

  • It demonstrated trust in God – When we budget our giving, it needs to be at the top of the list. How can we say we trust God to provide when we pay our cable bill first and give him what is left over?
  • It was sacrificial – The kind of heart God wants us to have is one willing to sacrifice for him. Our giving is not a sacrifice unless we actually sacrifice something.
  • Presumably, it was cheerful – Since Jesus new her heart and still praised her gift, we can assume she gave in a cheerful manner. Who wants a gift that was only presented out of duty?

The kind of giving we see these days is nothing like the widow’s giving. The giving we see by philanthropists is often a spectacle. It certainly doesn’t cause any harm to the finances of the giver.

They should enjoy the praise of men while they can, because God will not give them any credit for it! (Matthew 6:2)

Those of us with more modest means have the ability to give so much more than they. It all starts with showing God a little trust.

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How to Give Better

January 7, 2014

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Selfless giving is required by Christians

Selfless giving is required of Christians

When I compare fund raising spectacles or events against Matthew 6:1-4, I wonder how much value they have as far as God is concerned.

On one hand, an event is paid for by someone with lots of money who intends to raise even more money for the cause the event is meant to support. On the surface it seems like a great way to make one’s money work even harder than it would if it had been given outright.

One the other hand, Matthew 6:1-4 says not to let attention be drawn to our giving.

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.

Let me just throw out a few fast points about giving in no particular order:

  • We never see in the Bible where the source of giving or sacrificing came from anywhere other than personal possessions.
  • We do see where God has consistently expected people to be very generous.
  • The Bible teaches a balance of secrecy and letting our light shine.
  • Matthew 6:2 uses the word “when” not “if” regarding giving.

From what Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:1-4, the reward for those big showy charity events is self-contained. God doesn’t acknowledge them because of the pure self-serving nature of them.

Selfless giving is a requirement of Christianity. Liberal giving builds up credit in ways we’ll never fully grasp during this lifetime.

What can you do to improve your giving this year?

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