For the Christian giving is a divine duty. It is an endeavor we are to engage in, and one that reminds us of God Himself. Giving reminds us of God Who first gave us of His Life when He breathed upon man at creation and man became a living soul; and thereafter gave man everything on earth.
In Genesis 1:26-30 we read: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to everything that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.”
Giving reminds us of this Creator Who gave us His Life, and the whole wide world. We give because He gave. When we give we must learn to give like God.
Giving also reminds us of God Who gave His Only Begotten Son. “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved” – John 3:14-17. We give because He gave. And when we give we must learn to give like God.
Giving is an obligation, a very serious command! And in carrying it out God has a lot of expectation; the way we must go about it, and our previous work details the fundamentals. Here we hope to further this subject matter by attempting to state what our manner must be as we give to God, His work or His children. It is learning to give like God; and so this must necessarily be a learning process that demands us daily approximating or becoming more like God in the matter of giving. Others who have gone before us and whose lives and giving were acceptable to God must also represent lessons on how to give to God acceptably; and we have considered saints like Abraham, Lot, Joseph, Job, Moses, David and Barnabas as representatives of the lot in some of the works in this series.
So, how do we give to God? What kind of giving is acceptable to God? It is necessary we consider this all important question if our giving must be rewarded now and in all eternity by the God who owns all of us and all that are ours.
Giving Holily or in Holiness
“And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him” – Genesis 4:3-7.
Abel was qualified to give his offering, because the reason why God did not accept Cain’s offering was stated: “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door.” As early as the beginning of humanity God didn’t accept offering because of sin. So holiness or freedom from sin has always and will always remain God’s yardstick for accepting our giving or offerings. And this must always be emphasized in our congregations else we will be deceiving the people and ourselves.
Abel gave with a pure and acceptable heart. Let us be holy givers.
Giving Foresightedly with God’s Purpose in Mind
Abel did not only give in holiness but foresightedly and according to God’s purpose. Abel offered blood. He gave what was dear to God’s heart, and what has bearing to His plan of salvation of the world. His spirituality and deep insight into God’s will and purpose is not in doubt. He captured as early as the beginning of human history God’s ideal expectation of offering: Giving according to His purpose. And Abel gave according to His chief purpose.
Abel’s offering was spurred by or has root, as it were, in the Cross of Christ which he saw from afar. Our giving must be spurred by or propelled or have its root in Christ’s love; that love indescribable which the story of His Cross is! Abel’s offering connected with the Gospel. It connected with the Kingdom of God. And ours should. And there are a thousand and one ways our giving can connect with the Gospel, and the Kingdom of God.
Let us be visionary and purposeful givers: Giving with roots in the Cross; giving that connects with the Gospel.
Abraham represents example among men any day:
In Genesis 22:1-18 we read: “And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you, And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together. And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen. And the angel of the Lord called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, And said, By Myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven,
and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed My voice.”
Many there are who claim Abraham’s blessings are theirs but know nothing about Abraham’s giving. And there are many supposed children of Abraham who have been blessed who know nothing of what Abraham understands about the purpose of God’s provisions in the hands of man and Abraham’s lifestyle of giving.
Giving that Costs
We already noted David as an example of this kind of giving in a previous part of this series. We here refer to the relevant Scripture: “And Gad came that day to David, and said unto him, Go up, rear an altar unto the Lord in the threshingfloor of Araunah the Jebusite. And David, according to the saying of Gad, went up as the Lord commanded. And Araunah looked, and saw the king and his servants coming on toward him: and Araunah went out, and bowed himself before the king on his face upon the ground. And Araunah said, Wherefore is my lord the king come to his servant? And David said, To buy the threshingfloor of thee, to build an altar unto the Lord, that the plague may be stayed from the people. And Araunah said unto David, Let my lord the king take and offer up what seemeth good unto him: behold, here be oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing instruments and other instruments of the oxen for wood. All these things did Araunah, as a king, give unto the king. And Araunah said unto the king, The Lord thy God accept thee. And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. And David built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the Lord was intreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel” – 2 Samuel 24:18-25.
Do you notice the healthy rivalry in giving to God and the cause of God here? Do you notice the rivalry in giving to God so that the people of God can live, and not perish?
Giving the 2 Corinthians 9: 6-and-7-Way
“But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 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: 6-7.
We see here two ways to give and two ways not to give: We should give willingly from the heart and cheerfully; and we should not give grudgingly or give of compulsion. And yet the counsel is to give bountifully and not sparingly. He that sows bountifully shall reap bountifully and he that sows sparingly shall reap sparingly. Jesus teaches same in Luke 6:38: “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”
Ecclesiastics 11:1; Proverbs 11:24-25; Proverbs 19:17; Proverbs 22:9; and Psalm 18:25; Psalm 41:1-2 visits the same truth.