How to Give to God

Times are tough.  People everywhere feel the pressure of deteriorating economies. Few are exempt from the financial difficulties.  A friend of mine has been out of work for over a year.  She told me she went to another interview this week and was one of six hundred applicants for the single job being offered.  She is not alone.  Many people face similar plights.  As people battle these hardships, churches and charities suffer, too.  Churches provide many things for their communities.  Food, clothing, benevolent assistance to needy.  When giving is down, churches have less to share with others.  Yet, there is great hope when we turn to scripture and seek God’s will for our lives.  The churches of Macedonia illustrate that no matter how little one has, a heart filled with Jesus is a heart that gives. 

“In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people.  2 Corinthians 8:2-4

Can you imagine?  Philippi, Berea and Thessalonica were so touched by the needs of their fellow brothers and sisters in Jerusalem, that they reached into the depths of their own need and gave beyond their ability and expectations.  They gave what they had and then gave some more.  Their sacrificial giving did not need to be coerced.  They didn’t need a stewardship emphasis, or a building-for-God’s-glory program.  They didn’t hold a raffle or have a bake-sale.  They simply gave.  What makes the difference in a person’s heart that stirs it to give beyond its means?  According to the Apostle Paul, it was their devotion to Jesus.  They put Him first.  Then they gave to others in ministry as a natural overflow of their love for Him.

Such evidence of love is commendable faith.  We cannot outgive God.  He provides everything we have.  Even in the most lean times of my life, I found God faithful to care for me.  I may not have all I want, but God meets my needs.  I’ve never gone hungry or without shelter.  This provision stirs my heart to help others.  When hearts are filled with love for Jesus, they grow in faith, they increase in wisdom, knowledge and kindness.  They dedicate their time and energy.  They teach, preach, sing and pray.  Can we do more?  Paul thought so when he wrote the Corinthians:

“But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.” {vs. 7).  Is God calling you to give?  Are you struggling with a decision to give more to your church or a particular ministry?  May God give you the answer you need to be at peace. 

PRAYER:  Thank You Lord for all You give us.  Help us be mindful of Your provision as we consider what we can give to others.  May we seek to live as Christ and give beyond ourselves as You so lead us.  Amen.

© Hariette Petersen, SelahV Today, 2011