The Lord has been revealing a new understanding and perspective to my wife and I about the practice of giving. This is what he has revealed to us:
“As Christians, we need to encourage generosity and the culture of giving not just within Christian circles but amongst all peoples. Because in giving to the work of the Kingdom, it opens the door for the Lord to work in the giver’s life in numerous ways. To deny a person an opportunity to give, is to deny them a blessing.”
The economy and way of the world is about getting, keeping and storing for self, however the way of the Kingdom is about giving, releasing, freedom and blessing. Jesus teaches us that it’s better to give than it is to receive (Acts 20:35), He teaches that we should not store up treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, instead He says we should store up treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal (Matthew 6:16-21).
Jesus goes on to say that if we give so much as a glass of cold water to someone who is a disciple of Christ, we will surely not lose our reward. Again, Jesus says that no one who has left (or given up) mother, brother, wife, home or business for the sake of the gospel will fail to receive 100 times as much in this life and in the life to come (Mark 10:29-30). In other words, when we give to the work of the gospel and the Kingdom, our investment goes from the physical into the eternal – secure forever.
Not so with the world today. The Rand is up today, tomorrow it’s down. This year the economy is good, next year we are in a recession. The world is unstable, uncertain, and fleeting. But the Kingdom of God is forever, faithful and steadfast day after day, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. The Kingdom is the only safe, stable and guaranteed investment option we have.
But you may be thinking, “Nicholas, I’m very poor, I live on only a few Rands each month, I just cannot afford to give.” The gospels reveal a stunning principal in the story of the old, poor widow who came to the temple to give her offering. Jesus sat at the place where people put their gifts in and watched wealthy men and woman throwing in large chunks of money. He then saw this old woman come and throw in two copper coins. Impressed, He turned to His disciples and said, “this woman has given more than anyone else, because in her poverty she gave all she had to live on, whereas others have given out of their wealth” (Luke 21:1-4). From this we see that the amount given is not important, but rather the posture, position and heart behind it. Later in 2 Corinthians 9, Paul says that God loves a person who gives cheerfully, not reluctantly or under compulsion, but with peace and joy in their hearts.
Friends, when we give, we experience freedom and peace. I want to encourage you to consider, pray and pray some more, and then to give as led of the Spirit, whether it be two copper cents or thousands upon thousands, do so with a joy-filled and peace-filled heart, to the glory of the Father.
I’ll close with this quote from Jim Elliot, martyred missionary to the tribes of the Amazon – He is no fool to give what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose.
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