Some define "godliness" as "God–likeness."
Others describe it as "behavior which displays the character of God." It is
evident from these brief definitions that godliness is the manifestation of God’s
presence and character in one’s life. The godly life is one which takes God into
consideration in all areas of life. Whatever is being done, is done with a consciousness
of God and His will.
God is holy and this is to mark the godly believer. (1 Pet. 1:15)
God is righteous and this too is to be seen in the life of a saint. (Tit. 2:12) God is
love and love is to characterize His people. (1 John 4:11)
God is also a giving God, and thus if we are to manifest His character,
giving should characterize us as well. Giving is not limited to the giving of money. Time
can be given to God and to others. Things can be given as well. Of course, the ultimate
gift is to give yourself. Paul said of Christ, "who loved me, and gave himself
for me." We often find it easier to give our money than to give ourselves.
From one end of the Bible to the other, God is seen as a Giver. In the
beginning He gives man the herb bearing seed, and fruit yielding tree. He provided the
first man with a wife fit for him. He gave Abraham and his seed the land. He also gave
Sarah a child. God clearly is a giving God.
God’s giving is not limited to physical blessings. The greatest of
all God’s gifts is the "unspeakable gift" of His own Son. (2 Cor. 9:15;
John 3:16) Scripture speaks of eternal life as a gift. (Rom. 6:23) And every believer has
been blessed with "all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ." (Eph.
In contrast to God, the natural man is a "taker." It has been
said, "The world is composed of takers and givers. The takers may eat better, but the
givers sleep better." Even among the saints there are those who are spigots and those
who are sponges. Those who are always pouring themselves out for the Lord and others, and
those who are always on the receiving end.
In contrast to the natural man, godly men and women are givers. The
godly men in assembly oversight are not to be greedy for money, but are to be given to
hospitality. (1 Tim. 3:2–3) Barnabas, unlike Ananias, and Sapphira, was a giver
of all the proceeds from the sale of his land. (Acts 4:37) Paul, speaking to the
Thessalonians, said, "we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of
God only, but also our own souls…." (1 Thess. 2:8) The Macedonian saints gave
out of their poverty to the suffering saints in Jerusalem. (2 Cor. 9:2) Then there were
the two widows. The one "of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her
living." (Mk. 12:44) The other gave her last handful of meal to the prophet. (1 Kings
The Scriptures give us a number principles regarding our giving. Not to
give to the Lord is spoken of as stealing. (Mal. 3:8–10) Giving to the Lord is simply
returning to Him that which He has given us. (1 Chron. 29:14,16) Giving is to be done in
secret. We are not to advertise it. (Matt. 6:1–4) Our giving is to be systematic, or
regularly. (1 Cor. 16:2) Giving is to be proportional to one’s income. The greater
the income, the greater the giving. (1 Cor. 16:2; 2 Cor. 8:3) Perhaps, most importantly,
giving is be done willingly, "for God loveth a cheerful giver." (2 Cor. 8:3;
9:7) It has been said concerning the Macedonian saints who gave willingly out of their
poverty, "Great tribulation, plus deep poverty, plus grace, equals abundant giving
and abundant joy." Another has wisely noted, "Christian giving is not a matter
of finances, it is a matter of faith."
Giving is likened to the sowing of seed. "He which soweth
sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also
bountifully." One can hoard his seed and received nothing in return, or one can sow
bountifully and reap bountifully. Paul, writing to the Philippian saints, wrote, " I
desire fruit that may abound to your account." (Phil. 4:17) Those who sow bountifully
will reap bountifully in their heavenly account.
It should be noted that when one supports a work he becomes a partner
in that work. (This is why we must not support false teachers.) The apostle John spoke of
being "fellow helpers" or "partners" to the truth. (3 John 8) Through
giving each saint has the opportunity to be a partner in the Lord’s work, and to
share in the rewards as well.
The apostle Paul, speaking to the Ephesian elders, said, "Remember
the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to
receive." (Acts 20:35)