Have you ever had a run-in with a bully?
I have. It happened in the fourth grade. One of my classmates took exception to something I did during a friendly game of touch football at recess. Before I could say, “Unnecessary roughness,” he landed a surprisingly effective jab-jab-cross combo on the smiley side of my head. Five years later, our freshman football team played against this kid’s new school. I’m not too proud to say that I was always a better student than athlete. Having learned my lesson, I spent the entire game avoiding (i.e., running away from) him.
What does this have to do with giving? Well, many people equate their preacher with the schoolyard bully who’s intent on roughing them up so he can steal their lunch money. “The preacher’s getting ready to ask for more money. Hide your wallet!” Have you ever been tempted to whisper that to your spouse during church? If so, this post is for you.
Why do we give? There are so many reasons. Let’s discuss a few.
We give because God gave
We serve an eternal, powerful, wise, all-seeing, omnipresent, magnificent God who expresses Himself by giving. The fact that God, being who He is, would give the most precious thing He had to give for our benefit, being who we are, is absolutely amazing.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”(John 3:16).
We give to others because we serve an extravagantly generous God.
We give because Jesus gave
Because He’s His Father’s Son, it shouldn’t surprise us that Jesus is also generous. Although He’s the eternal Son of God and, on that basis, entitled to all the riches, pleasures, rights, and comforts of His heavenly home, Jesus chose not to cling to His rights. He gave all that He had to give.
“The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28).
We give to others because our mission is to glorify God by becoming more like His Son.
We give to grow the Kingdom
Paul writes about an offering the church in Corinth collected to ease the famine-related troubles Christians in Jerusalem were enduring. Paul points out that not only will their gifts help with the physical needs of their brothers and sisters in Christ, they will result in more people worshiping 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” (2 Corinthians 9:12-13).
Our generosity is an extremely powerful testimony of God’s goodness to a watching world. As we grow in generosity, we play a vital part in the growth of God’s Kingdom on earth.
We give to experience the joy of it
Many of us stop short in our giving. When we do so, we miss the reward—the joy—of growing in generosity and sharing in God’s work here on earth. When we focus only on the bottom line—What percentage should I give? Net or gross? Cash or check?—we miss the joy of the cheerful, generous, free, and glad sharing of our resources. Speaking to the same Corinthian givers, Paul says:
“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” (2 Corinthians 9:7).
We give out of the overflow of our hearts, because of the joy that bubbles up from within.
So, why do we give?
When it comes to giving, you don’t need to worry. There is no bully lurking in the shadows at church waiting to shake you down and steal your milk money. Rather, God is inviting you to experience the richness of becoming more generous, growing His Kingdom, and following His example and the example of His Son.