Thursday, May 03, 2012

Giving and Generosity

I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I’m afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare….if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, and amusement, is up to the standard common of those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little.   C.S. Lewis

This quotation from C.S. Lewis challenges our ideas about giving and generosity.

We see people who live much beyond their income for many years, then it catches up with them. They are strapped with debt, unwilling to follow God’s will in spending or in giving. They end up in bondage (not enjoying what they have) or in bankruptcy (enjoying what they have at someone else’s expense).

We see others who live within their means but spend most of their money on themselves and their family. They spend money on vacations, entertainment, their house, or new cars, but rarely give to God’s work.

We don’t give to get, but we firmly believe that you cannot “out give” God. We have experienced it ourselves and seen others that continue to give more and more but God still meets all of their needs.

Generosity is a “readiness or liberality in giving.”

What stands in our way from generous giving?

Generosity is a condition of the heart. When we are unwilling to give, we may not have a heart for God’s work. We may not have compassion for the poor or disadvantaged. Or we may have such a fear of the future, that we are unwilling to turn loose of our money.

God is trustworthy. He has told us that when we follow Him and His principles that He will meet our needs. The question is whether we are trustworthy. As defined in the parable of the talents (Matthew 25), God wants us to acknowledge that He has given us everything that we have and that we are to follow His guidance on where and how we are to spend His money.

Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.        (Deuteronomy 15:10)

The place to begin …..

A wise lover values not so much the gift of the lover as the love of the giver. Thomas A. Kempis

Generosity begins with giving of ourselves in time, emotions, and money. 

The majority of Christians are not willing to give even a tithe. A recent survey shows that among born-again Christians, only 9% tithe. One cannot be generous if he does not give.

The place to begin generosity is the basic principle of giving. We only give to God’s work and according to His will if we truly love Him above all else. Once we truly love Him, we must believe that He is trustworthy.

Do I trust Him enough to follow Him, ....
even if His direction seems "irrational" to me?

Reason says that you don’t give if you aren’t paying all of your bills.

God’s Word says "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty. (Malachi 3:10)

Our personal testimony is that we began tithing at the point in our financial lives that we had the lowest income and could least “afford” it. But God was faithful. We never missed a meal and all bills got paid. We pray about how He wants us to spend the 100%, not just 10%. It all belongs to Him.

Read testimony of a young couple and giving ....
Read about generosity in marriage and with others....