When God first started challenging me to give I placed it down as a seasonal thing; I believed that God was challenging me with living generously for a specific timeframe. Surely, I thought, one could not always live giving above their means, because sooner or later the funds would run out. The thing with God, however, is that He brings wisdom that is above that of our own.
God declared: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
I have seen proof of this declaration as it relates to giving. My resources have never dried up, but neither has His call to give. He continues to challenge me and yet my response has changed. I no longer fear provision for myself because He has proven Himself to be a faithful Provider. In addition, He has stirred up within me a need to give.
I have come to experience what Christ said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35).
And how much do we give? Well, ask God that question as He will tell you what you are personally to give. We no longer live under Law, but under grace. The Law demanded a ten percent tithe, how much do you think grace and love demand that we give? The Law demanded specific tithes of first crops of the harvest and money and livestock, what do you think love and grace demand we give? Think of your resources, time, money, skills and even what you fear being called to do in service.
Do you hold back out of fear? Do you make excuses, thinking that you do not have enough for yourself, let alone anything to spare for others? If this is the case, consider the following Scriptures:
And as she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” And she said, “As the LORD your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. And now I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die.”
And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said. But first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make something for yourself and your son. For thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the LORD sends rain upon the earth.'” And she went and did as Elijah said. And she and he and her household ate for many days. The jar of flour was not spent, neither did the jug of oil become empty, according to the word of the LORD that he spoke by Elijah. (1Kings 17:11-16).
Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” (Luke 21:1-4).
We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints—and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. (2 Corinthians 8:1-5).
There are many things that we can give of: time, money, skills, thoughts, or a listening ear. Pray about what God might be asking you to give.
Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. (Matthew 5:42).
Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. As it is written, “He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.”
He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. (2 Corinthians 9:7-12).