“This is what the Lord says: “Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom, or the powerful boast in their power, or the rich boast in their riches. But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things. I, the Lord, have spoken!” – Jeremiah 9:23-24.
There’s a lot you might expect a church to say about giving. You would expect to hear that we need to give back a part of what God gave us. You would hear that everything we have comes from God. This includes your talent, your skills, your experiences and your resources. But you would also hear that God doesn’t need your money. It’s true. He owns it all. “The silver is mine and the gold is mine, declares the Lord Almighty.” (Haggai 2:8) God doesn’t tell us to give because He needs something from us. It is an act of worship and helps us better know God. That’s right, we know God through giving.
Let me explain what I mean. Giving is a spiritual issue and in fact, a relational issue with God. In order to truly yield to God’s ownership of our possessions, we must evaluate carefully what may be the most telling evidence of our stewardship – the part we give. Just as we decide on what we spend on monthly phone bills or how much we will put in a savings or retirement account, we must also decide how much money we will give. Even when we opt to give nothing, we made a decision. But even when we opt not to give we are still accountable to God for our decisions because we are stewards of what God has given us.
That can seem like God has put the onus on us, or in other words it can seem like a burden. In 2 Corinthians 9:7 Paul tells us, “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Giving is actually a relational decision. In the process of making giving decisions we really establish our alignment with God on stewardship. As we continually decide to give, we constantly confirm how much we value our relationship with God. When we truly look at ourselves as stewards, then the decisions to give are as simple as thinking and praying on how He wants us to allocate His money.
Giving is a freeing experience as it connects us more closely to God relationally. The ultimate outcome is that those who give as stewards experience a sense of intimacy with God that all followers of Christ long for. Giving becomes worship. Giving becomes a way of saying thanks to God for His grace and promised provision. Giving becomes a deep part of our personal connection to God.
- Why do you think it’s so common to believe that giving is a list of rules and requirements? How do you define giving?
- What role does giving play in your relationship with God?