Touch a man's wallet and you have touched a nerve. When Jesus challenged the rich young ruler to part with his money it struck a nerve. The young man apparently did not realize the grip his money had upon him until he was confronted with giving it away. (Lk. 18:22-23) So it is with many of us. We do not always realize how much we trust in riches, and how much importance we place on money. Money gives us a sense of security; however, Scripture would teach us that riches have wings, and really provide very little security. (Prov. 23:5)

When it comes to Christians and giving to the Lord, it has been said, "A giving Savior should have giving disciples." (2 Cor. 8:9) It was the Lord who said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." (Acts 20:35) Instruction on giving to the Lord occupies a good part of Scripture and is a very important part of the Christian pathway.

Throughout the Old Testament we are given accounts of those who gave abundantly. When the tabernacle was to be constructed the children of Israel gave their jewelry, linen, and other materials to such an extent that Moses needed to command them to stop giving. (Ex. 36:3-6) The widow of Zarephath gave her last meal to the prophet (1 Kings 17). In the New Testament we read of the widow who gave "all that she had" (Mk. 12:44). Mary and Martha provided hospitality to the Lord (Jn. 12:2), while Lydia did so for Paul and his company (Acts 16:40.)

Often "giving" is viewed in a negative light, and many fail to see that it is more "blessed" to give than receive. Many miss a blessing by failing to give of that which the Lord has placed in their hands. All is His, and David stated, "for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee." (1 Chr. 29:14) In addition to blessing, giving is a way of honoring the Lord. "Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:" (Prov. 3:9). What Christian would not want to honor the Lord in the way he lives? Yet, despite this, many fail to see giving as a way of honoring the Lord. Giving needs to be seen in a more favorable light. We need to view it, not as a chore, but as an opportunity to honor the Lord and to be a blessing to others, and in turn be blessed.

There are some very simple principles associated with Christian giving. One is that of secrecy. The one giving is not to blow his trumpet and announce it to the world. It is not to be done for the praise of men. (Matt. 6:1-4)

Giving is also to be systematic. Paul instructed the Corinthian saints to set aside each Lord's Day in accordance with how the Lord had prospered them. We do many other financial activities in a systematic way, and yet giving is often done in a haphazard fashion. We pay mortgages, loans, and utility bills on a regular basis, and giving to the Lord should also be done in an orderly way.

As noted above it is also to be proportional. It is to be 'according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not." (2 Cor 8:12) We need not compare our giving to others which will most likely cause difficulty. We are free to simply give in accordance with what the Lord has placed in our trust.

Perhaps most important is that our giving is to be from a willing and cheerful heart. "Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver." (2 Cor. 9:7) In a selfish world giving is usually viewed as a duty-something we ought to do. The Lord is desirous for the Christian to have a cheerful attitude toward giving. Thankfully there are those Christians who really enjoy giving to the Lord. It should be true of all of the redeemed.

We often speak of developing and using our spiritual gifts, and it needs to be done. When writing to the saints in Corinth Paul said, "Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also." (2 Cor. 8:7) The "grace" of which Paul is speaking is that of "giving." No doubt he would exhort us today to "abound in this grace also."

Paul concludes this exhortation with the example of "giving" by the Lord Jesus, Who was rich, but for our sakes became destitute in order that we might become rich. (2 Cor. 8:9) Certainly His grace is to stir our hearts to be cheerful givers.

Labour hard, consume little, give much - and all to Christ. Anthony Norris Groves