What Does Biblical Giving Look Like?
The Bible often teaches us to do what is contrary to what the world teaches or opposite of our natural tendencies. How does biblical giving compare to worldly giving. No doubt, there are lots of generous people in the world with big hearts who want to help those in need. Not always, but often times their generosity is motivated by the attention they receive for giving and rarely is it done sacrificially. The typical world view that many of us grew up learning was to take care of “number one” and let everyone else fend for themselves. As children, many of us had to be taught to share the things that were important to us; our toys, food, and time to name a few. Sharing and giving was not something that comes natural to most. And some of us had to be reminded of this time and time again.
Scripture teaches us and we find many examples of how we ought to give. This kind of giving doesn’t make sense to most and is difficult to comprehend. Our Heavenly Father demonstrated the greatest example of Biblical giving when He gave His only begotten Son to pay the penalty for our sins, so that we could have eternal life with Him. Even though we don’t deserve it! God does not expect to us to match this type of giving, but He does want us to give sacrificially. He wants us to give even if it means putting others needs before our own and sometimes it simply means giving even when I don’t want to.
One of the ways to view this is to decide if our giving has some type of eternal value. Will our gift bless someone else and ultimately bring God glory. Will God be pleased with our decision to give or to refrain from giving. When we give to someone who is pan handling, we don’t know if we are helping someone who truly needs our help or is taking advantage of us. I’ve learned to discern as best I can and give if I’m felt led to. It would be great to receive immediate feedback, but that’s not always the case and it really doesn’t matter. But there are times that God does give us a response.
God wants us to invest our lives, our finances, our time and talents in the lives of others. It needs to be motivated by love and a desire to be obedient to God’s Word.
In 1Kings 17 we find the prophet Elijah’s encounter with a starving widow in drought-stricken town of Zarephath. He called out to the widow and asked her for some water and a morsel of bread. She replied that she didn’t have any bread. She had a handful of flour and a little bit of oil in a jug. She was planning to bake what little piece of bread she could for herself and her son as a last meal before they died. Elijah’s instructions to her seems odd. First, he tells her not to fear, then tells her to do as she had planned, but to make him a little cake and bring it to him first and afterward make something for herself and her son.
She obeyed Elijah and as many of you know, she continued to bake bread for Elijah, herself and her household for many days and the jar of flour was never spent and the jug of oil never emptied.
I am encouraged by many of you who give faithfully, obediently, and sacrificially of your time, finances, and your talents, even in the midst of your own needs. While we may not encounter something as miraculous as this account, I know many of you have stories of how God blessed you because of your faithfulness in giving, whether it’s unexpected funds that you received in a time of need, a car or appliance that lasted a lot longer than the “normal” lifespan.
While God is not obligated to bless us when we make sacrificial offerings, He usually gives us more than we expect or what we deserve. And to think He even takes pleasure in us when we are obedient to Him. “For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He adorns the humble with salvation.” Psalm 149:4