Lucia's Blog: THE BLESSEDNESS OF GIVING
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Isaiah 55:8-9

Isaiah 55:8-9

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

THE BLESSEDNESS OF GIVING

"In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive."' 
Acts 20:35


A "taker" is not necessarily a bad person.  He is just someone who expects others to give to him. He is not especially good at seeing opportunities for giving or generosity toward others. He misses the joy that comes from the love that is willing to sacrifice his own wants and needs for the good of others. Let us think about the Lord's promise, "it is more blessed to give than to receive."


One of the everlasting beatitudes in the Bible is:  "It is more blessed to give than to receive."  (Acts 20:35).  Is the giver happier than the receiver?  I wonder how many actually believe this and put it into practice?!  Indeed it is "more blessed to give than to receive."  Surely, it is more blessed to be a giver than a taker.  The givers seem to be happier than the takers.  It is natural to want to be blessed or happy but I wonder how many actually know what it takes to be completely happy?! God, our Creator, knows and tells us in His Word how to find and pursue happiness.  Happiness does not depend on our material riches.  As material riches soar, happiness remains relatively unchanged. So the question is:  is there a connection between giving to others and increased levels of happiness?  This is exactly where I want to focus in my study.

But, there is a problem!  Our intuitions or instincts cry out against it.  Ironically, many are unaware of the hidden key to true happiness.  Most fail to acknowledge that giving to others brings more joy than spending money to satisfy the desires of the flesh.  But, Christ's followers must not think this way! Our Lord Jesus has taught us that "it is more blessed to give than to receive."  (Acts 20:35).  The question is:  do we believe it and live accordingly to our Lord's teachings?  It is God's plan for man to give.  Man has been designed to give to others, so as a matter of fact, this is what will bring him the greatest satisfaction.

As children of God, we must grasp the importance of giving to others freely since God has blessed us and given us so much, beyond our comprehension.  Our desire should be to bless others because our Creator has blessed us so abundantly, both with physical and spiritual riches.  In a few words, all Christians ought to live to give; not to earn blessings and praises, but because we owe our God immensely (the gift of salvation).  It is the right thing to do and will lead us to greater joy and blessings. So, do you want to find satisfaction in life?  Then, start giving more!

Consider the following reasons why it is more blessed to give than to receive:

  • God is the preeminent Giver: 
God is the one who gives to mankind life and breath, everything, (Acts 17:25).  He has also given us the gift of salvation by sending His only begotten Son to die for our sins,  (John 3:16).  He has given us abundantly all that we need that pertains to life and godliness, (2 Peter 1:3). He gives us wisdom, (James 1:5).  He has given us peace and grace through His Son, who gave Himself as a ransom to deliver us from God's wrath, (Galatians 1:3-4).

  • Everything belongs to God:  
The world and its fullness, the heaven and the heaven of heavens are His, (Psalm 50:10-12; Deut. 10:14; Haggai 2:8; I Chr. 29:14; Deut. 8:18; I Tim. 6:17).

  • We are stewards of God's blessings:  
It is crucial that we understand that we are not "owners" of our "possessions."  Instead, everything belongs to Him alone.  We are His stewards and will have to give an account to Him of how we have used all the blessings He has bestowed upon us.  Jesus emphasizes this principle in all of His parables.  Consider some of them:
    • The parable of the talents:  (Matthew 25:14-30).
    • The parable of the rich fool:  (Luke 12:15-21).
    • The parable of the unrighteous steward:  (Luke 16:1-13).
    • The parable of the ten minas, usage of money:  (Luke 19:11-27).

All Christians are God's stewards and ought to administer God's grace freely with all diligence.  In the first century, the apostles would lay their hands on certain Christians to impart a variety of spiritual gifts through the Holy Spirit, (I Corinthians 12:4-11).  And though today we don't have the same "miraculous spiritual gifts," we still have spiritual gifts that we need to manage and use well. Consider what Romans 12:6-8 has to say about the best use of God's gifts to us:  
"Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith;  if  service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness."

Notice that the "distribution" is a gift of God.  Therefore, we must use those gifts well accordingly to the will of God.  "As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God."  (I Peter 4:10).

  • It is in giving that we are doing God's will, obeying His commandment:  
Our Lord and Savior has left us a great example of giving by dying a cruel death on the cross for the remission of our sins.  Considering such a gift, our giving must be done with a cheerful heart without complaint.  The Lord expects and demands of us that we give freely the way that He has freely given to us.  He demands that we be zealous for good works.  All of God's laws or commandments were given to enhance our lives as we obey them.  The giving that God commands likewise will enrich our lives increasing our happiness.  It will bring joy!

"Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,  I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’  Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?  And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’  And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'"  (Matthew 25:34-40).
 "Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need."  (Ephesians 4:28)
"As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.  They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share."  (I Timothy 6:17-18).
"who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works."  (Titus 2:14).
"Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work... that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.  And let our people also learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful."  (Titus 3:1,8,14).

  • It is in giving that we are submitting to the Lordship of Jesus:  
Every act of total obedience acknowledges and makes valid or legal the higher authority that is in our lives:  our Lord and Savior.  He is the head over us and therefore is entitled and worthy of all honor and reverence.  "Did you know that our submission to God is tested in this area?"  Our selfish nature makes it difficult at times to be givers to others.  Sadly for many of us, it is difficult to obey this order to share our riches (such as money) with others who are in more need than we are.  Our wallet seems to be the target.  It is the last citadel to fall to God's rule.  If only we had the heart to remember that Divine Lordship is in no way a threat to us but rather a place of great safety.

  • Giving shows God's loving kindness, His grace to all man:  
Lest we forget, God is the GIVER of every good and perfect gift, (James 1:17).  As His children, in His likeness, we are commanded to imitate Him.  That means GIVING.  God wants us to enlarge our hearts just the way He does.  Don't forget that the wider and larger our hearts are, the better we paint a picture of His likeness, His character.  My question is:  "what do others think of God when they see our behavior regarding the way we use our riches, our money?"

Jesus’ sacrifice is our measure of sacrificial giving, (John 3:16).  The apostle Paul exhorts us to give more.  This is seen in his letters.  In his letter to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul pointed them to Christ, Christ's character,  "For to this end also I wrote, so that I might put you to the test whether you are obedient in all things."  (2 Corinthians 2:9).  When we give sacrificially with eagerness of heart, we abound in God's grace, love, faith, obedience.... It is in giving to others that we are proclaiming the "good news" of the Gospel of our Lord and Savior.  There is no other way!

  • The grace of giving:  
God loves a cheerful giver, "Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."   (2 Corinthians 9:7).  Giving delights God.  He is well pleased when His children, enlarge their hearts gladly providing for the needs of His children.  Through Paul, God repeatedly commends those like the Macedonian brethren, who gave beyond their monetary resources and gave of themselves to the needy saints in Jerusalem, (I Cor. 16:1-3; Romans 15:26).  They enlarged their hearts to supply the needs of others.  They did not offer breadcrumbs to the Lord but rather emptied themselves to bless others.  In doing this, they clearly removed all greed!

"Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia, that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality. For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints, and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God."   (2 Corinthians 8:1-5).   
So, is it possible to know how much we ought to give?  We find the answer in Acts 11:29: 

"And the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren that dwelt in Judaea." 

In this letter to the Corinthians, Paul speaks of the grace of God.  So, what does grace have to do with giving?  It has much to do with it.  The word "grace" means "favor."  Therefore, giving is an expression of God's favor, a blessing from God.  When we give, God is blessing us.  When we fill God's plate, He is filling ours as well.  If we only knew that there is nothing else that can make a Christian happier than knowing that he is doing the will of God.  And in doing this, our God is well pleased.  He is delighted.  Giving glorifies our God.

  • Giving trusts God's provision:  
Fear is one of the biggest discouragements to many.  We fear that if we are abundantly generous, we will not have enough for this or that.  We need to remember and take to heart that when we give sacrificially the way God expects and demands of us, we are expressing our faithfulness and trust to God, to provide all of our daily needs.  This is walking in FAITH.  Many Christians have found out that there is joy when they cast their bread crumbs upon the waters.  They find out that the return or exchange is multiple loaves after many days, "Cast your bread on the surface of the waters, for you will find it after many days."  ( Ecclesiastes 11:1).  If only we knew how much joy and blessedness there is in giving!  It is in giving that we are fulfilling God's promises of provision.

  • Giving advances or grows God's kingdom, His church:  
Many of us have contributed in one way or another to the success of a secular business and so on.  But we must not forget that we must contribute to the Lord's work, His church.  We must give to the Lord our time, ourselves, our riches, everything, for the success of His kingdom.  This will help the work of the church in evangelizing and meeting the needs of the saints.  We must purpose in our heart to invest spiritually for the welfare of those who are dying because of sin.  We can help and be partakers financially of what God has blessed us with in the spreading of the Gospel to save souls.  We can provide for the needs of a local preacher who has dedicated his life to evangelizing and changing lives that have been damaged because of the weight of sin.  Our dollars can change homes, relationships, nations and most importantly the souls of those who are lost.
  • Giving sanctifies us:
Not only does giving promote God's works throughout His kingdom, but also allows God to work in us, to our own sanctification.  Giving teaches us self-denial and self-dying.  It is in giving that we are showing God's grace freely to others.  God's grace is spreading largely in our hearts.   Material possessions can leave us bankrupt, but sin can also bankrupt our souls.  And our souls are priceless!

  • Giving is a demonstration of our love:
Giving proves our genuine love for God and others:  "I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine.  So give proof before the churches of your love and of our boasting about you to these men."  (2 Cor. 8:8, 24).

"But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?  Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth."  (I John 3:17-18).


  • Giving testifies of God's power:  
Although we have been commanded by God not to let our left hand know what our right hand does, it is evident that Christians give plentifully to the churches and secular charity organizations.  Even the unbelievers notice the generosity of Christians.  They may not say it but surely they think it.  This generosity testifies of God's power to provide for His children so richly so that they may provide for the needs of others.

  • Giving praises and vindicates God's character:  
Giving cheerfully without remorse is an act of worship.  It renders a tribute of honor and praise to God.  This is how we must express our gratitude toward Him.  It reveals our faithfulness and thanksgiving to Him the "Author" of all our blessings:  The good gifts that come from above to us.  As David sang:  "What shall I render to the LORD for all His benefits toward me?" Psalm 116:12).

    CONCLUSION:

    God has blessed us bountifully.  He has generously blessed us with both physical and spiritual riches. Likewise, He has blessed us richly with a family (wife, husband, and children).  This is one of God's most special blessing toward us.  He also has blessed us with a spiritual family, the church.  As His children we ought to imitate Him in our kindness, generosity, love and giving, (Ephesians 5:1).  And though it is God's commandment to us, it is the only way to find satisfaction and true happiness. With all the blessings in giving, let us be cheerful givers without regret.  Let us give with joy in our heart.
    "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."  (2 Corinthians 9:8).

    May we learn from Jesus, who gave Himself freely on the cross to die for our sins.  May we always remember that giving gives us joy and glorifies our God.  May we give ourselves completely to our Creator and freely extend His grace to others.



    Luci