Let’s learn to give with genuine and sincere hearts. Failure in this was the beginning of the undoing of Ananias and Sapphira:
“But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him. And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in. And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much. Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out. Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband. And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things” – Acts 5:1-11.
That God may not react the way He reacted then because of relative want of holiness in the general Church today does not in any way suggests He accepts gifts and offerings given in self-deceit today. Ministers may accept them to expand their congregational empires but such gifts are not really needed by God to expand His Holy Kingdom.
Giving according to Ability or the Blessings of God
“Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord thy God which He hath given thee” – Deuteronomy 16:17. Some interpret this Scripture as if it has no ‘B’ part to it. They are wont to say we give according to what we are able but hardly telling us what that really means. If you or the flesh is left to determine your ability it will hardly have any ability to give according to what this verse requires even though the barns may be filled to overflowing and the presses to bursting.
Actually the meaning of that verse is in the second section of it. The second section actually explains what the first section means. It is saying that every man shall give according to the blessing of the Lord our God which He has given us. So, how has God blessed us individually? Again, if we are left to answer this the flesh could rear up again. If God Himself is to weigh the blessing He has given us and compare it with what we are giving we would be most shameful. If we allow His Spirit to help us here we would see how easily we can be deceived by the flesh. Each and every one of us can give more than we are giving presently if we allow the Spirit to take full charge.
There are classes of givers. Many give below their ability because of the flesh etc. They falsely comfort themselves saying that is according to their ability. Really? How these people shares border with the evil of Ananias and Sapphira. Some give according to their ability; and that is ability properly defined by their spirit without any form of condemnation; and seen and accepted by God as such. The God who truly knows our ability is ever pleased with this. Yet, some others even go beyond this Divine approval. They give more than they are able:
“Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God” – 2 Corinthians 8:1-5. When men genuinely first give themselves to God, nothing is too much to be given to God, Christ’s true brethren, and the Gospel or the Great Commission.
Giving in Humility
This is giving to God, His work and the brethren as if you’re returning a thing to its owner. After all, this is the actual position. There is nothing you have that is not given. And if given, it must be for a purpose which the owner determines. We are just caretakers. So if He asks you to give it to Brother So-and-so, it only means that you were just a caretaker. And in giving it therefore to Brother So-and-so, you return it as if to the owner (not just to God the original owner but the very Brother So-and-so).
1 Chronicles 29:8-16: “And they with whom precious stones were found gave them to the treasure of the house of the Lord, by the hand of Jehiel the Gershonite. Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the Lord: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy. Wherefore David blessed the Lord before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed be thou, Lord God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is Thine; Thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and Thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honour come of Thee, and Thou reignest over all; and in Thine hand is power and might; and in Thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank Thee, and praise Thy glorious Name. But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of Thee, and of Thine own have we given Thee. For we are strangers before Thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding. O Lord our God, all this store that we have prepared to build Thee an house for Thine holy Name cometh of Thine hand, and is all Thine own.”
In Philippians 2:5-11 we read of the incomparable humility of our Lord and Savior that gave Himself and salvation to us. Let’s see this example par excellent: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
And the command is let this mind which was in Christ Jesus also be in us. This is how we must endeavor to live. We should live humbly and give humbly. There is too much pomposity and self-importance in the giving of many in our day. Our giving to God and God’s work knows too much publicity and hype today. They that do this already have their reward. Let God only be honored in our giving to Him and His work. And of giving to individuals the next point tells how!
Giving in Secret
Matthew 6:1-4: Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the syn
agogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret Himself shall reward thee openly.”
This again abhors pomposity, show and publicity characterizing many of our alms giving today. ‘But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret Himself shall reward thee openly.’
Giving to the Needy
Proverbs 22:16: “He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want.” This is the Word of God. It tells here of a class of people we should not give to: The rich. But how this contrasts with what most of us do! Giving to the rich may attract favor from them but not from God; and at the end both your gift and the favor it attracts will send you back to want.
There are many unfertile grounds people sow in that we must not sow in. One of them is sowing into the rich, especially to gain reward. He that gives to the rich shall surely come to want. Without the qualifying word ‘surely’ in that sentence it is already frightening coming from the Word of God. Yet, it came with ‘surely’. It may take time but it will come surely.
But this must not be confused with giving to fertile ministries dedicated to God, for to actually give to ministries truly dedicated to God is to give to God. But we may be aware of ministers who consume these things on their own lust and family lust; God would sort that out with them someday. May God help us all!
Do you want to see God’s visitation and reward here, and in eternity? Give to the needy, and poor brethren within and then the needy and poor without.