How To Give (Pt. 2)

In the first part of this series, we described giving as an act of transferring possession of something abstract, or concrete (tangible) to another. We also said that the purpose of giving is to improve the lives of others.

Giving is one avenue which God has chosen to multiply what we have. Jesus said, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6:38 KJV). Through our giving, men are directed and made to give us increased proportions of what we have hitherto given to others.

Even though giving is a channel of blessing, the manner in which it is carried out will determine whether the outcome of the action will result in a blessing or otherwise. This is because when it comes to giving, the attitude of the heart and the motives with which a person gives influence the outcome of the action.

In the first part of the series, we outlined some inner conditions for giving well. Now, we would look at conditions (of the heart and mind) that are not appropriate for giving.

 

Conditions Not Appropriate For Giving

1. Don’t give when you are being forced or threatened to give.

“Let each one give [thoughtfully and with purpose] just as he has decided in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver [and delights in the one whose heart is in his gift].” (2 Corinthians 9:7 AMP). I have noticed that time and again in churches and other meetings where ministers attempt to force people to give. This is not proper. The verse we just quoted says God’s people should give what they have decided in their hearts to give and should not give under compulsion. In other words, they should not be forced to give what they are not willing to give. The Word goes on to say that ‘God loves a cheerful giver’. By saying this, it implies that God doesn’t like it when people give under compulsion. In the same vein, God’s people should not be compelled to give with threats. I have seen ministers tell people to ‘give or else such and such evil thing will occur in your life’. This is also wrong. God delights in the one whose heart is in his gift; not in the giver who is full of the fear of evil. If ever you feel threatened or forced to give, know that it is not a good time or moment to give. Wait for a moment or opportunity where you can give thoughtfully and with purpose as the Word prescribes.

2. Don’t give sparingly or scantily.

“Now [remember] this: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows generously [that blessings may come to others] will also reap generously [and be blessed].” (2 Corinthians 9:6 AMP). Giving that is sparing or scanty is: not notable, not much, not noticeable, not substantial. Though the Scripture does not explicitly say to avoid this kind of giving, it does not recommend it. This is because of the kind of scanty result this kind of giving results in. God knows that His children will not be pleased by scanty gifts or rewards. Scanty giving results in scanty rewards. If you have ever felt insulted on account of receiving a scanty gift, you will understand why you shouldn’t give in this manner.

3. Don’t give grudgingly.

“Let each one give [thoughtfully and with purpose] just as he has decided in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver [and delights in the one whose heart is in his gift].” (2 Corinthians 9:7 AMP). A person who gives grudgingly displays reluctance or unwillingness to give which is usually coupled with mild levels of anger. God does not accept this kind of giving.

4. Don’t give sorrowfully.

“Remember: A stingy planter gets a stingy crop; a lavish planter gets a lavish crop. I want each of you to take plenty of time to think it over, and make up your own mind what you will give. That will protect you against sob stories and arm-twisting. God loves it when the giver delights in the giving.” (2 Corinthians 9:6-7 MSG). Sorrow is in direct contrast with cheerfulness. Since God loves a cheerful giver, we can safely imply that he hates sorrowful giving.

5. Don’t give under constraint, duty, duress or pressure.

“Remember: A stingy planter gets a stingy crop; a lavish planter gets a lavish crop. I want each of you to take plenty of time to think it over, and make up your own mind what you will give. That will protect you against sob stories and arm-twisting. God loves it when the giver delights in the giving.” (2 Corinthians 9:6-7 MSG). Do you feel like your arm is being twisted by a minister to give? Curb this by preparing your offering at home before going to church or the cell meeting. God wants our hearts to be protected from this kind of giving because it does not result in blessings.

6. Don’t give to be seen by men.

“Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding. When you do something for someone else, don’t call attention to yourself. You’ve seen them in action, I’m sure—‘playactors’ I call them—treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds. They get applause, true, but that’s all they get. When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks. Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out.” (Matthew 6:1-4 MSG). No comments. I believe these words of Jesus in the sixth chapter of St. Matthew’s gospel have explained it well enough.

How To Give (Pt. 1)

Giving is such an essential part of human existence and life in this world. Someone once said: “Giving is essential to self-respect. To be in a situation where you can only receive, [and] not give, is to lack human dignity” (Rabbi Jonathan Sacks).

In giving, one transfers possession of something abstract, or concrete (tangible) to another. Giving is in its purest sense, an expression of love. The purpose of giving is to improve the lives of others.

God’s Word has much to say about giving because of its indispensability and the vital role it plays in human existence.  In this article, I wish to highlight a few God-thoughts on ‘How To Give’. The attitude, disposition, preparation and motives culminating in our eventual release of our substance to others is of great importance to God.

God doesn’t just want us to give. He wants us to ‘give well’. To ‘give well’ is to give with a right attitude, disposition and with pure motives.

 

Conditions for Giving Well

Apostle Paul wrote a letter to a group of people who were eager to help others by their giving. With his words (in 2 Corinthians Ch. 9, vs 1-15), I would highlight the conditions for giving well:

“There is no need for me to write to you about this service to the Lord’s people. For I know your eagerness to help, and I have been boasting about it to the Macedonians, telling them that since last year you in Achaia were ready to give; and your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action. But I am sending the brothers in order that our boasting about you in this matter should not prove hollow, but that you may be ready, as I said you would be. For if any Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we—not to say anything about you—would be ashamed of having been so confident. So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given. Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.” Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”

 1. Give willingly

This is the definition of generosity. The dictionary definition of generosity is: “The trait of being willing to give your money [or possessions] or time (WordWeb). The attitude of your heart at the time of giving should be willing, that is unforced or uncoerced.

2. Give with readiness and eagerness to promote the cause for which you are giving.

Commendable giving is carried out with an eagerness to help. Paul’s audience were clearly eager to help other believers. Paul states explicitly concerning them: “For I know your eagerness to help…”.

3. Plan your giving in advance.

Planning your giving in advance is a prerequisite for generous giving.

4. Prepare in advance for acts of generosity.

Without preparation to give, giving is prone to be carried out grudgingly. Depending on what you intend to give and the size or monetary value of what you intend to give, you may need to prepare for days, weeks, months or years. This will help you make all the needed arrangements so you won’t be forced or hurried at the last minute.

5. Give generously

a) A generous person gives more of something than is usual or expected.

b) A generous person is friendly, helpful and willing to see blessings come to someone or something.

c) A generous amount of something is much larger than is usual or expected.

6. Give as you have purposed in your heart and mind to give.

“Let each one [give] as he has made up his own mind and purposed in his heart, not reluctantly or sorrowfully or under compulsion…” (2 Corinthians 9:7 AMP) 

7. Give cheerfully.

“…God loves (He takes pleasure in, prizes above other things, and is unwilling to abandon or to do without) a cheerful (joyous, “prompt to do it”) giver [whose heart is in his giving].” (2 Corinthians 9:7 AMP) 

8. Give joyously.

“…God loves (He takes pleasure in, prizes above other things, and is unwilling to abandon or to do without) a cheerful (joyous, “prompt to do it”) giver [whose heart is in his giving].” (2 Corinthians 9:7 AMP) 

9. Give promptly.

“…God loves (He takes pleasure in, prizes above other things, and is unwilling to abandon or to do without) a cheerful (joyous, “prompt to do it”) giver [whose heart is in his giving].” (2 Corinthians 9:7 AMP) 

10. Let your heart be in your giving.

“…God loves (He takes pleasure in, prizes above other things, and is unwilling to abandon or to do without) a cheerful (joyous, “prompt to do it”) giver [whose heart is in his giving].” (2 Corinthians 9:7 AMP) 

 

Riches & Godliness: How to be Good at Being Rich

“Tell those who are rich not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which will soon be gone, but their pride and trust should be in the living God who always richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and should give happily to those in need, always being ready to share with others whatever God has given them. By doing this they will be storing up real treasure for themselves in heaven—it is the only safe investment for eternity! And they will be living a fruitful Christian life down here as well” (1Timothy 6:17-19 TLB)

There are two kinds of rich people. These are:

1) Those who are good at being rich

2) Those who are not good at being rich.

Those who are good at being rich have overcome the dizzying effects of being rich. I will show you how to be good at being rich according to the Scriptures.

 

How to be Good at Being Rich

1. Show respect to all men irrespective of their social standing. “Tell those who are rich not to be proud…” (1Tim. 6:17 TLB). Proud people do not show respect to many people especially when they perceive they are better placed in society than other people. However, those who are good at being rich show utmost respect to all men.

2. Walk in love towards all people.

3. Use your money to do good.Tell them to use their money to do good…” (1Tim. 6:18 TLB). Those who are good at being rich use their money to promote only good and worthy causes. Those who are not good at being rich use their money to perpetrate evil.

4. Be rich in good works.They should be rich in good works…” (1Tim. 6:18 TLB). Some rich people use their money to do good sometimes but are not rich in good works. Much of their riches go into selfish expenditure while very little goes into good works. Such people may spend a lot of money on a custom-made vehicle and think that the same amount of money that went into the purchase of that vehicle is too much for the work of the ministry and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Such people do not do good lavishly. Being rich in good works also denotes giving not just money, but a lot of time, effort and energy in doing good.

5. Be liberal and generous of heart. “…And should give happily to those in need…” (1Tim. 6:18 TLB). The liberal soul gives happily to those in need. He is moved with compassion when he sees the needs of others and acts to meet those needs.

6. Be ready to share what you have with others. “…Always being ready to share with others whatever God has given them… (1Tim. 6:18 TLB). 

7. Realize that whatever you have was given to you by God. “…Ready to share with others whatever God has given them… (1Tim. 6:18 TLB). The man who will be good at being rich must start out with the awareness that whatever he has was given to him by God. This will set the pace for wisdom in the use of those riches.

8. Keep your hopes on God’s Word and God’s prescriptions for solving problems. Instruct those who are rich in the present age not to…set their hope on the uncertainty of wealth, but on God…” (1Tim. 6:17 TLB). Those who are good at being rich do not allow their trust to shift from God to riches. Such a person thinks “What does God’s Word say about this kind of problem or challenge?” rather than “How much money do I need to solve this problem?”. He would often pray about an issue first instead of quickly taking refuge in the potential of his money.

You can be good at being rich. That way, you become truly blessed and fruitful on this earth while storing up real treasures for yourself in heaven. God bless you! 

 

God Can Give You Much More

“…For a hundred talents of silver, he [Amaziah] got a hundred thousand fighting-men from Israel. But a man of God came to him, saying, O king, let not the army of Israel go with you; for the Lord is not with Israel…Then Amaziah said to the man of God, But what is to be done about the hundred talents which I have given for the armed band of Israel? And the man of God in answer said, God is able to give you much more than this.” (2Chronicles 25:6-9)

 

Very often, when people spend considerable sums of money to acquire something, they find it difficult to let go of it even after they find out that that thing may be harmful to their current existence or create problems for them in the future. At this point, it is important to realise two things: 1) that your life is more precious that what you are letting go of, 2) that God is able to give you much more than you have lost (or are about to lose).

Amaziah (a king of Judah in his days), had paid 100talents of silver (approximately $200,000) as advance money to hire 100,000 fighting men from Israel. Shortly after parting with such money, God sent a prophet to instruct him to dismiss the men he had hired because He (God) was not with them. His first response to this instruction was “What happens to the money I have paid to the men?” The prophet satisfactorily assured him not to regard what was going to be lost because God was able to give him much more.

Some people are unable to obey such instructions from God because of their immense attachment to money and other material things. Others are afraid they might never be able to get certain things again in their lives if they lose them. Lot’s wife is such an example. She was so attached to the things she was leaving in Sodom that she could not comply to God’s instructions not to look back at Sodom and so she was turned into a pillar of salt after looking back.

Amaziah on the other hand obeyed God’s instruction in this instance and his obedience is on record to his honour. God has enough ways to make up all the loss and damage we sustain in His service. If you have lost anything for God and His kingdom, be inspired with confidence by this: GOD IS ABLE TO GIVE YOU MUCH MORE.

It is interesting to note that after the king lost 100talents of silver by his obedience, the Ammonites gave his grandson the same amount of silver as a present (that is the principal repaid) and 10,000 measures of wheat and as many measures of barley (that is the interest on the principal). They gave him the same amount every year for two more years (2Chronicles 27:5).

“What is it to trust in God, but to be willing to venture the loss of anything for Him, in confidence of the goodness of the security He gives us that we shall not lose by Him, but that whatsoever we part with for His sake shall be made up to us in kind or kindness.” MATTHEW HENRY