A while back, I discussed how we are responsible through our giving to take care of our family, our church family, and the needy. The Bible describes giving in detail, from our mindset, to how much, and how we will be blessed by giving. In fact, Acts 20:35 tells us “…remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” And with the right focus, it always blesses the giver more. You may have experienced this in your own life. When we give, whether it’s of our time, possessions, or money, we are positively impacting others (see Matthew 5:16). When we give of our money, we’re making a declaration that ‘you don’t own me’ and ‘it’s not mine anyway’. There’s something so freeing to be able to give like this.
We can even start to feel good about ourselves, but we must be cautious not to give for these selfish reasons. Giving must be done out of love for others and love for God, not out of desire to be recognized. If you have ever given and then wished you were noticed or recognized for it, then your motives were not right. The love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13:3, describes the proper motivation for giving, “If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.”
Giving is never about the amount. It’s about the motives and the heart of the giver. We’ve already learned that God loves a cheerful giver. In the feeding of the five thousand, in John 6, the disciples are stressed that so many need to eat and there is so little food to go around to everyone. Picking up at verse 8, “One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to him (Jesus), “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” From the story we know that Jesus made it into more than enough for all. We must never assume that our small gift will not have a much larger impact.
Giving is also a display of our trust in God. If we don’t give faithfully, we communicate to God that we don’t trust Him to provide for the future and that my plans are more important than bringing glory to Him. However, Proverbs 3:9-10 tells us that through our giving, God will provide and take care of us. “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.” We can never out-give God.
It seems appropriate to end the topic of giving by reviewing the greatest example of it found in the Bible. John 3:16 tells us, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” Jesus, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords came to this world to give. He came to ultimately give up His life so that we can have a path to spend eternity in heaven. Through God’s gift of Jesus, the world witnessed the only sinless man, who came to serve others, not to be served. If you have accepted His gift, then you have also accepted a greater responsibility to give. A responsibility to give in order to honor and glorify the greatest Gift-Giver.
Let me know what you think. Drop me a line or give me a call. Christopher.Hull@CeteraInvestors.com or 716-707-1818.
Coming later in July: Planning
The views stated in this letter are not necessarily the opinion of Cetera Investors and should not be construed directly or indirectly as an offer to buy or sell any securities mentioned herein. Due to volatility within the markets mentioned, opinions are subject to change without notice. Information is based on sources believed to be reliable; however, their accuracy or completeness cannot be guaranteed. Past performance does not guarantee future results.