“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).
We give because we love. Love always gives! God loved … God gave! He gave the best He had. He gave the Lord Jesus Christ!
Because the Lord Jesus first loved us and gave Himself for us, now we love Him and give ourselves and all we have to Him. If we have any other motive in our giving, we are missing the mark!
“Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were an offering far too small.
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my heart, my life, my all.”
We give because the love of Christ constrains us! (2 Cor. 5:14).
To Whom Do We Give?
We give first to the Lord, then to His servants, His saints and His service. We may give a gift directly to a preacher of the gospel, or to a needy Christian, or put it into the assembly offering for Sunday School work, but first that gift should be given to God. Thus it becomes “a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God” (Phil. 4:18).
The churches of Macedonia gave liberally out of the abundance of joy and their deep poverty, “but first gave their own selves to the Lord” (2 Cor. 8:5).
It appears that in the early Church most of the Christians’ gifts were directed to the poor, the widows, and fellowship to those who devoted most or all of their time to the Lord’s work (Acts 6 & 1 Cor. 9).
Everything we have we hold as stewards and we should be as careful with the Lord’s money as we are with our own. Today in our country with all its social benefits such as pensions, unemployment insurance and other government aid, the assembly offering for the needy is not so prevalent as it was; nevertheless, there are still cases of need and these should be sought out and looked after.
There should be a definite setting ces where the Christian can use his gifts such as new assembly meeting places, radio work, tract work, Sunday School work, Christian camps, etc. These are often very costly projects and almost any amount of money can be put into them. In all this, however, the servants of the Lord, the pioneer workers, the missionaries abroad should not be neglected. These have gone forth for His Name’s sake, taking nothing from the Gentiles (3 John 7), never making an appeal on their own behalf to the saints. In a day when frequent appeals for funds come through the mails, over the air, yes, and even over the telephone, the Christian should be most judicious in spending the Lord’s money. He should be careful to see that it is being used to build up that which is scriptural and for God’s glory.
Often the well-publicized, sensational preachers are amply looked after and those plodding on in a difficult field are neglected. This is something that every Christian should be deeply exercised about, because it is one of the main reasons why so little pioneer work is being done today.
How Do We Give?
We should give cheerfully, not grudgingly or of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:7). If we give bountifully God will bless us bountifully. He will open the windows of heaven and pour us out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it (Mal. 3:10). Conversely, if we give sparingly we will reap sparingly. “There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty” (Prov. 11:24).
There should be a definie setting aside of funds for the Lord as God has prospered us (1 Cor. 16:2). It is most important that these funds be kept separate and apart from that which is retained for our own use and that of our dependants. It is nowhere specified in the New Testament what percentage of his income a Christian should give to the Lord. Certainly we should not give less than ten percent which was the amount required of those under the law. The Christian who gives but ten percent of his income to the Lord does not do as well as the Israelite who also gave a tithe, but over and above this gave gifts and freewill offerings.
Probably very few of us give as much proportionately (remember how the Lord commended the widow for her mite) as the 73 year old Scandinavian lady we read about recently who lives alone on a little prairie farm. She is clubfooted and during some seasons of winter must crawl about on her knees to feed the cattle.
“How much did you give to missions this past year?” someone asked her. She replied, “Seven head of cattle and all my crop.”
This dear soul, who gives almost all her old age pension cheques for mission work, wrote to a missionary as follows: “Sometimes I shed tears, because I have so little to give and see the need so great. I wish I could have thousands, so I would be able to help more. But when I have given all I have, then I can only weep and pray that God must give others who have more than I the same vision of the need as I have. Many Christians are able to do much more if they only would. My Saviour has done so much for me that I never will be able to do for Him what He deserves. But how glad I would be if He one day could say to me like He did say about one lover in Bible days: ‘She hath done what she could.’”