ARTICLE OF THE MONTH:
Biblical Principles and Methods of Giving
When Much is Given Much will be Required of Us! [Luke 12:48]
By Dr. John Williams
While any kind of giving is an act of goodness, sacrifice, love and honor, we should not make it a habit to give only when we are emotionally moved, challenged or compelled. Nor should we follow the worldly standards and principles when it comes to giving. Giving is an act of God. God is the greatest giver. While we celebrate Christmas we should remember John 3:16 which says that God so Loved the World that He Gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting Life. Since Jesus has bought us with His precious blood we have become bond slaves to Him. Therefore, we have an obligation to obey God's Laws and to live up to His standards. We should not limit our Giving to the standard of the World.
Jesus said that what good is it if you return good for good. Even the Publicans do it. We should return good to them that hate us
The Biblical Principles and Standards of Giving
A. GIVE CHEERFULLY
The Bible says that we must give cheerfully. II Corinthians 9:7 says, "..for God loveth a cheerful giver". The same scripture also says that we should not give grudgingly or out of necessity.
B. GIVE ACCORDING TO OUR ABILITY
Deuteronomy 16:17 says, "Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord thy God which he hath given thee". Ezra 2:69 says, "They gave after their ability unto the treasure of the work threescore and one thousand drams of gold, and five thousand pounds of silver, and one hundred priests' garments". Acts 11:29 says, "Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea".
C. GIVE LIBERALLY
The Bible teaches us to give liberally and generously. The liberal soul shall be made fat (Proverbs 11:25) II Corinthians 8:2 says "…their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality".
D. GIVE OUR BEST
In Matthew 26, we read about the woman of Bethany who gave her best as a gift to the Lord. She brought an alabaster box of expensive ointment. Jesus was so pleased that he said that what she did, will be remembered down through the history and a tribute will be paid to her wherever the gospel is preached. Abel gave an excellent sacrifice as an offering which pleased God. (Hebrew 11:4, Genesis 4:4)
E. GIVE OUR FIRST
Giving the first fruits of all of our increase is a commandment of God (Proverbs 3:9) When it comes to giving we must give or set aside for God one tenth of all of our increase first. On the first day of the week we are supposed to give our tithes and offerings to the Lord. We should not follow the principle of giving at the end of the month if there is any left over. Whether we have enough or not, we must give what belongs to and what is due to God. If the first is holy and sanctified then the remainder will also be holy and sanctified.
F. GIVE OUR LAST
Jesus commended the widow that gave two mites as an offering because she gave her last. Jesus said that she gave more than all. The widow of Zarephath gave prophet Elijah the last meal she had. Because she gave the last, the Lord blessed what she gave, multiplied it and supplied food until the famine was over. Jesus shed even the last drop of his blood for us.
G. GIVE OUR ALL
Giving the last is using up or giving away what we have, little by little until we are left with the last item and then giving that also to some one. We can give our all at any stage, no matter how much or how little we have. Giving everything we have at one shot, just keeping the minimum that we need for ourselves can also be considered as giving our all, eventhough we may not give everything literally. The widow that gave two mites gave all she had. Jesus told the rich young ruler to sell and give all to the poor and follow him, but he went away with great sorrow. It takes a lot of sacrifice and faith to give away all we have, particularly when we trust in our riches. This is probably the best test to find out if we can trust God one hundred percent.
In the first New Testament Church the believers brought everything they had and laid it at the Apostles' feet.
H. GIVE UNTIL THE NEED IS MET
Very often people just give a little, without bothering about whether the need is really met or not. In order to have a clear conscience or to be free from guilt, people just give something as a token. When the tabernacle was built by Moses, every one gave until there was more than enough, and finally Moses refused to accept any more offering. The Good Samaritan gave some money to the inn keeper to take care of the wounded man and further said that if he had to spend more than what he gave, he would pay him that amount also on his way back. I would say that people are afraid to ask the question as to whether others needs are met or not or whether they have enough. Normally people give a little and go away quietly, because they are afraid that if they ask more questions about all of their needs they may be obligated to give more.
I. SELL AND GIVE
When people do not have money to give, they say easily and gladly, that they do not have anything to give. But the fact is that they may not have cash on hand but they have the ability to give by selling some of their belongings or liquidating some of their assets. "Selling and giving" is also a biblical principle. Jesus told the rich young ruler to sell all that he had, give it to the poor and follow him. In Luke 12:33 Jesus told his disciples to sell what they had, give away as alms and follow him. In the next verse Jesus said that where your treasure is there your heart be also.
ANYTHING TO GIVE
People generally think that when they do not have anything to give they just cannot give. But that is not true. You may not have anything right now, but that does not mean that you will never have anything. In a situation like that what they can do to is to make a vow to the effect that they will give a certain amount when they have it. However, we should not make a vow when we 'have' to give it now.
Exodus 25:2 says, ".. of every man that giveth willingly with his heart, ye shall take my offering". Exodus 35:5 says, "…whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it…". I Chronicle 29:9 says, "Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the Lord…". Ezra 8:28 says, ".. and the silver and gold are a freewill offering unto the Lord God yours fathers". II Corinthians 9:7 says, "Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give, not grudgingly, or of necessity.."
L. GIVE SECRETLY
Matthew 6:3 says, "But when thou doest alms' let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth". We should not give for recognition by men. The motivation for giving must be true love. The Bible says that when we give publicly we will not receive another reward for that in heaven.
M. GIVE FREELY
Matthew 10:8 says, "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils, , freely ye have received, freely give". We should give without expecting any favor in return. We should give even to the stranger and to the enemy.
N. GIVE WITH SIMPLICITY
Romans 12:8 says, ".. he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity.." We should give without making a big show. If the true motive of giving is love, we will not worry about getting any special recognition for that.
O. GIVE REGULARLY
I Corinthians 16:2 says, "Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come". Our giving must be consistent and according to the principles of the Bible. Our giving should not depend upon our moods or financial position. We must have a plan for giving. Whenever we receive a blessing, a certain amount must be set aside for giving and designated for a specific purpose. Leaders should not exploit the situation of unemployment.
The main purpose of this article is to challenge every one to give, following the scriptural principles rather than arbitrarily giving an amount, when a situation arises for giving. The greatest thing that any one can do is "giving". We cannot love anyone without giving. How much we give as compared to how much we have is one of the most important biblical principles of giving. The Bible says that when much is given, much will be required of us. Another important biblical principle of Giving is 'Stewardship'. We are accountable for everything that the Lord has blessed us with!