5 Principles of giving biblically
God is the giver of givers. According to the book of Genesis 1: 26-31, God not only gave us life but also made sure He gave us all that we needed to survive – He placed everything under our care.
Further, in John 3:16, we also see His greatest sacrifice where He gave us His only son, Jesus Christ, out of love. These are only but a few examples of God’s giving. We come across many others every time we read our bibles.
In reciprocation to the love of God, we should also give generously back to Him – by coming through for destitute family members, spiritual ministries, and needy people. These acts of giving are based on the following 5 biblical principles of giving:
1. All believers should give
If you believe in God and accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior, you ought to give regardless of your financial standing or position in the church. Luke 21: 1-4 talks about the poor widow’s offering that pleased God – more than even what was offered by the rich. This shows us that poor believers are not exempted from giving; hence, a lack of something to spare should not be an excuse for not giving.
More so, believers supported by Christian ministries are also not exempted, and if anything, they are expected to lead by example. Talk of practicing what you preach. This is emphasized by Paul to the Ephesian elders in, Acts 20:35
2. Giving is to be done in secret, before God
Last year, there was fundraising in my local church towards the purchase of more seats. My pastor, who was in charge of the ceremony, decided not to mention any member’s contribution to the agitation of most members.
However, to calm things down, he explained that, when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing—your giving may be in secret. Then your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
When we give we should not be concerned with the human audience but by our Father who sees that which is done in secret for He will reward us. In Matthew 6:1, Jesus says, “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.”
Clearly, Lord Jesus was trying to point out to His disciples that God’s audience is what matters. These religious acts of giving are to be done not for others to witness but as an act of worship and trust in God so He may reward us.
3. Giving should be done cheerfully
2 Corinthians 9:7 says, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” God wants us to give with a cheerful heart. He doesn’t want us to feel as if we are under obligation to do so. Besides, He doesn’t want us to give with expectations that make it like some sort of bribe for a good deed from God.
Have you ever been in a situation where someone felt compelled to give you something and you could clearly tell they didn’t want to? How did it make you feel? I guess bad, right? That is exactly how God feels every time we don’t give with a cheerful heart. It breaks His heart every time He sees this level of selfishness.
Luke 6:38 says, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” This translates to, the more cheerfully you give, the more you will be rewarded.
4. Sometimes God expects us to give sacrificially
God is a sacrificial giver. Remember, He gave us His only son who was later crucified, died, and was buried for our sins? He sometimes pushes us to give beyond our limits.
In Mark 12: 41, we are told a very fascinating story about how Jesus sat down to observe the way believers were giving. He sat there watching as many rich people were putting in huge amounts. We’d all think this would amaze Him, but no, He wasn’t.
What actually caught His attention was the poor widow. She only put in two small copper coins. What were they worth? This was like a drop in the ocean compared to what others had given. But unlike them, her gift was sacrificial. Of all the gifts placed into the treasury that day, only hers earned Jesus’ attention and blessing.
As Christians, we should sometimes come out of our comfort zones and make sacrifices. Give beyond the conventional 10% for sacrifices please God. In Hebrews 13:16, we are told that giving glorifies and pleases God. Hence, we should not neglect doing good and sharing because such sacrifices please God.
5. We should give from our first fruits
Proverbs 3:9-10 says, “Honor the Lord with your wealth, the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will overflow, and your vats will brim over with new wine.” We can see that for God to repay our good work of giving, we must have offered Him the first fruits of our harvest – which is usually the best.
In contemporary society, where we may not all be farmers, this translates to our income. God expects us to set aside at least 10% to give as tithe before our expenditure. Most of us are guilty of giving what is left after expenditure or worse not giving at all. This is not pleasant to God and may hinder our blessings.
Giving is an essential part of Christianity. Proverbs 15:8 shows that we must begin by first giving ourselves to the Lord before we can give to others so that our offerings can count before the Lord.