I don’t know many preachers that like to speak on the subject of “giving”; particularly for fear of seeming like they have an agenda. However, this preacher finds excitement in writing this article; particularly because the “giving” I am speaking about is not for the collection of the Saints (1Corinthians 16:1-2). It is not the act of worship we engage in every first day of the week. I actually will discuss our charitable acts outside of Sunday’s gathering. I am speaking of a type of giving that affects the preacher’s wallet in the same way it affects anyone else’s; but also benefits others as much as the preacher.
During the Feast of Tabernacles, the Israelites would dwell in booths for a week and celebrate the physical blessings God had showered on them. In this, they would make special offerings to God, as described in Leviticus 23:37-38, “presenting to the LORD food offerings, burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings, each on its proper day, besides the LORD's Sabbaths and besides your gifts and besides all your vow offerings and besides all your freewill offerings, which you give to the LORD.” This occasion emphasized thanksgiving by the Israelites offering extra sacrifices; to give God gifts besides their regular scheduled offerings. So also, our giving doesn’t have to end when we have dropped a check in the collection plate. We can still use our monetary resources and material wealth to bless others and glorify God on a personal and individual basis. The poor will always be with us (Matthew 26:11); whether in our community, family, home or congregation, we can find people we know with needs. However, I don’t want to just speak on the benefits to the disadvantaged, but I also want to offer some of the benefits personal giving affords the giver:
It keeps our priorities straight
Being financially blessed is not a sin, but it does bring its own temptations. So Paul said in 1Timothy 6:17-18, “As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches…they are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share.” The way I can counteract the tempting vanity of my wealth is by being generous, by giving. How blessed is a Christian who can personally help others, prosper himself financially, as well as store “up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life” (1Timothy 6:19).
It supplements our evangelism
The 1st century brethren used miraculous gifts to both show generosity and spread the Gospel (Mark 16:20). You may have heard the saying, “people don’t care how much you know till they know how much you care.” Well, using the resource of “miracles,” supernaturally blessing others was one way they showed they cared. In like manner, our personal evangelism can benefit from simple acts of kindness, including personal giving to help those in need.
It gives us Joy
2Corinthians 9:7 says that “God loves a cheerful giver.” The genuine disciple of Christ will not tremble with reluctance when he lays his prosperity before the altar; he will be cheerful in giving God his portion. So also, we ought to find joy in helping others in ways we can. To be happy when we mow a widow’s lawn. To be excited when we give a hungry stranger some food. To be filled with tears when someone genuinely returns to say, “thank you so much.” Seeing the difference we can make in people’s lives, both financially and eternally, affords us a priceless joy.