Why Do We Give?
By Pat Kilpatrick
Some people think of giving as a tax they have to pay to the local church. They think of it much like paying taxes to our government. Just like paying taxes, they do so grudgingly, complaining about how the money is spent, and expecting the church to be a democracy. Others think of their giving much like our country paying the United Nations dues. If they are not pleased with the way things are being ran, they hold back a part or all of their contribution to show their displeasure. They use their contribution as leverage to try to get their way. Well, that may the reason some people give, but according to the scriptures, that’s not why a child of God gives.
First of all, the child of God shows their thanksgiving to God by giving. Paul told the Corinthians, in I Corinthians 16:2 that they were to give as God had prospered them. This is very similar to the language used when God implemented the Freewill Offering as part of the observance of Pentecost saying they were to give according as the Lord God had blessed them (Deuteronomy 16:10). Giving is an act of humility we perform realizing that we have God to thank for everything we have. How much we give is not specified in the scriptures, but is something that we have to determine in our hearts (II Corinthians 9:7). Nevertheless, we are admonished, “He that soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he that soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully” (II Corinthians 9:6).
Children of God show their love for their brethren in their giving. The child of God realizes his obligation of fellowship toward his brothers and sisters in Christ just as Paul said the Macedonians did (II Corinthians 8:1-5). This love reaches beyond their immediate family in Christ to those of other congregations and even of congregations of different races and nationalities (I Corinthians 16:1-3). The Macedonians gave out of their poverty to help relieve the saints down in Judea (II Corinthians 8:2). John wrote that those that do not help their brethren who are in need do not love, and if they do not love, then they are not of God (I John 3:17-18).
The child of God gives to support those who preach the Gospel. Paul explained the importance of preachers in Romans 10:12-15. He admonished the Corinthians on how those who preach, should be supported by those they benefit (I Corinthians 9:1-15). He also gave this same admonition to the Galatians in Galatians 6:6. In Matthew Chapter 10, we find the Lord sending his apostles to preach to the twelve tribes of Israel. He told them to take no provisions or money with them, but when they went into a town to stay with one of who was “worthy”. If none would receive them, then they were to shake off the dust of their feet as a witness against that town.
Love for God and gratitude for all that he has given us, love for the brethren, and love of the Gospel are the reasons that a child of God gives. These attitudes are what makes a child of God the “cheerful giver” the Lord loves (II Corinthians 9:7).
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