Featured Article for the month of October 2007
"Giving in Different Ways & at Different Levels "
By Patriarch. John Williams

The Bible talks about the act of "Giving" in several places giving emphasis to different types, ways, aspects and levels of giving. Just to mention a few examples, the Bible says,

Give, and it shall be given unto you; a good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, an
running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again (Luke 6:37-39)

Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it (Malachi 3:10)

But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully (2 Corinthians 9:6)
   
 Honor the LORD with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase (Proverbs 3:9)
 These are just a few examples of hundreds of scriptures in the Bible which emphasizes that we should give liberally, sacrificially and beyond our ability, and according to the measure in which we give, it shall be given back to us. Further, the Bible says no one has become poor by giving, nor has anyone become rich by not giving.

Concerning the act of giving, the Bible talks about the different ways and levels of giving, and some of the examples are given below:
1. Give Cheerfully
2. Give according to our Ability
3. Give Liberally
4. Give our Best
5. Give First
6. Give our Last
7. Give our All
8. Give until the need is met
9. Sell and Give
10.  Make a Vow when we do not have anything to give
11.  Give willingly and not grudgingly or out of necessity
12. Give Secretly
13. Give Freely
14. Give with simplicity
15. Give regularly

Different Kinds of Giving

The Bible also clearly specify different things that we should give as our Tithes, First Fruits, Thanksgiving Offering, Alms to the poor, Substance, and at the same time the Bible tells us about giving to the poor and the needy, to the Church etc, as a sacrifice or an act of worship and honor.
1. Give Tithes
2. Give Offerings
3. Give your First Fruits
4. Give Alms to the poor
5. Give Money
6. Give Materials
7. Give Gold and Precious Things
8. Give Time
9. Give Talents and Skills
10. Give our Life
11. Give when we have nothing to give

Giving is and should be an act of love, compassion, worship, obedience to God's commandment and sacrifice. Sacrifice, I believe, is something that I want to emphasize in this brief article. How much we give is not measured in terms of the absolute quantum of our giving, but with reference to how much we have and how much we give, in terms of the sacrifice we make in giving, not as a law or as a token or for a personal benefit, but in obedience to God's word, out of compassion and love, and as an act of stewardship.
Giving out of abundance, when giving is not really is a sacrifice, has less significance, and so also giving our tithes, first fruits, thanksgiving offering etc, as compared to giving sacrificially and giving out of love and compassion. In order to emphasize this point, I would like to quote from the Bible what Jesus said, when a rich young ruler came to him and asked, what he should do to follow him. Jesus replied saying "Sell all that you have, give it to the poor and then follow him". This rich young man went away after hearing that with great sorrow. This also goes along with another statement in the Bible that says "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of the needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God". The poorer people that do not have much may have a great desire to give liberally, while the rich people who have much are not willing to give sacrificially to the extent it hurts them. Generally, they give only out of their abundance, and the act of giving will not be a real sacrifice in the sense that such giving really amounts to any sacrifice or suffering on their part. In the final analysis the Lord does not really judge the "amount of giving" of a person in terms of the quantum of giving, but in terms of the percentage of one's total wealth or assets, giving which results in some kind of sacrifice to the extent that they will have to really depend on God for their important and primary needs to be met.   Many rich people give publicly in a way that they get their rewards right then and there, and further in the eyes of men they may look like liberal givers, but in the sight of God it does not mean much!
                                                          -The End-