As for those who are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. (I Timothy 6:17)
Created to Give
When God created humankind, God designed us to be generous. God created us with the willingness to give – to God and to others. It’s part of our makeup; we actually have the need to be generous. So why then do we often hold back? Here are two reasons:
- If we give it away, there may not be enough left over for us to live on.
- If we give it away, there may not be enough to buy the stuff to make us happy.
So, then what is the real source of security for us in our daily lives and where do we go for true contentment and satisfaction? The answer is that when we give our lives completely to Christ, we find that our fears begin to dissipate and our aim in life shifts from seeking personal pleasure to pleasing God and caring for others.
Giving to God
From the early days of the Old Testament, God’s people observed the practice of giving some portion of the best of what they had to God. In the beginning, the practice was to burn these offerings completely, saving no portion of the offering for food for themselves or others. This was a way of saying, “God, I give this to you, and it’s all yours.” In later times, the people would bring their offerings to the priests and offer them to God for the work of the temple and the priesthood.
As Christians, we ask what God expects of us today regarding our offerings. Most of us agree that the tithe is still a good guideline for our lives, and one that is pleasing to God. So we begin by giving an offering to the church to accomplish the work of God’s kingdom through the body of Christ, and the church is responsible for praying and discerning how God wants these resources to be used. Our tithes and offerings are a tangible sign of our desire to live wholly for God. They are an expression of gratitude, worship, and praise.
A Feeling of Generosity
Our generosity to God and others not only touches God and other people, it also changes us. We were created with the need to be generous. When we are not generous in giving of what we have, we have not only a financial problem but also a spiritual problem. When we are generous – to God and to our families, friends, neighbors, and others who are in need – our hearts are filled with joy. They are enlarged by the very act of giving. When we give generously, we become more generous. That’s how it works!
Defined by Generosity
Adam Hamilton, author of Enough: Discovering Joy Through Simplicity and Generosity, talks about his meetings with families to plan a funeral or a memorial service for a loved one. He says, he always asks the family to tell him about their loved one. What were his/her defining characteristics? Someday, someone will sit with our family or friends and ask those same questions. What will the answers be? Will our lives be defined by our generosity?
Associate for Stewardship
*Excerpts taken from Enough: Discovering Joy Through Simplicity and Generosity by