Have you ever had a random stranger pay for your meal or buy your coffee? Have you ever done that for someone? I don’t think I have ever had someone purchase my meal or coffee. I am not sure that I have ever done that for someone else. That is a form of giving. Let’s think about giving. Do you know how to give from your heart?
Why Do We Need to Give?
We are commanded to give. In the Old Testament, there were laws about giving and offerings. While we do not live under the law we are still commanded to give. Matthew 6:2 says, “When you give” it uses the word when and not if.
Giving is an act of grace. Paul calls giving an “act of grace” in 2 Corinthians 8:6. At this time the Christians were taking an offering for the believers in Jerusalem who were facing hardness and so the other churches were taking a collection to share with those in need. We love the fact that we live in the age of grace and no longer under the law but we need to see giving as an act of grace.
Giving shows our gratitude to God and our dependence upon him. When we come to recognize that all we have comes from God then our response is gratitude and thankfulness. Giving is a way of showing that. When we realize that we are dependent on God for everything giving is an act of praise and worship.
Giving meets the needs of others. In the Old Testament, the giving of the Israelites met the needs of the priests. Today our giving and meet the needs of individuals serving the Lord full-time or meet needs that others might have. Giving shows our love for one another. What a testimony to those around us as Christians help and meet the needs of other people.
God has given us an example. He gave his son and continues to give to us. God’s giving is our example. God is not asking something of us that he has done. When we look at God’s example of giving, our response should be to give.
Why do we not give?
Sometimes it is good to think about why we don’t do a certain thing. The reasons might give insight into what is going on in our hearts. Here are some reasons that we might not give.
Just a plain and simple selfish attitude. “It is my money and I am not giving it to anyone or anything.” Maybe we don’t use such strong and selfish words. We might say something like, “I need to have enough money to meet my needs and wants.” Being selfish is looking out for one’s self. So not giving to others because we are looking out for ourselves.
Related to selfish but a bit different is greedy. Greedy has the idea of holding onto things for yourself. This often has the idea of materialistic. We are holding onto your money so we can buy what we want. Greed can be one reason we are not giving.
Lack of faith can be a reason that we are not giving. We just doubt and wonder if God can supply our needs. Can we trust him to meet your needs if you are giving? You are just not sure if you give that you will have enough for yourself.
A failure of planning and following through with giving might be a reason for not giving. We think about giving but just do not get around to actually doing it.
Maybe you don’t know where to give or feel overwhelmed with so many needs. Jesus said you will always have the poor with you. There will always be churches, organizations, and people that can benefit from our giving.
Selfish, greedy, lack of faith and a failure to planning are some of the reasons that we might not be giving. Do you have other reasons that you do not give?
If you don’t know where to give, begin by praying. Ask God where you should give. Consider your local church, missionaries that you know, organizations. Don’t not knowing to be an excuse for not giving
One of the heart issues with selfish, greedy and lack of faith is not trusting that God can meet our needs. Do we know God and know how we can meet our needs? Related to that could be fear, fear that you will be penniless or fear of what people might think. If those are some of your reasons for not giving, I challenge you to spend time getting to know the God who loves you and will provide for you.
Maybe a reason for not giving is just failing to plan or follow through with your plan. Take some time to make a giving plan and then do it.
How to Give from Your Heart
A giving heart is one that knows God, understands who he is, and then gives based on that.
A giving heart gives sacrificially. God sacrificially gave his son to us. We can give sacrificially because we know who provides. The widow in Mark 12:41-44 is described as giving everything she had. The churches in Macedonia gave out of their extreme poverty. (2 Corinthians 8:2). Learn to give sacrificially from your heart.
A giving heart gives cheerfully. Cheerful in this incidence means one that is not reluctant or under compulsion. (2 Corinthians 9:7) We know what giving under compulsion feels like, everyone else has given and now it is your turn. A cheerful heart gives knowing that it is an opportunity to share, help, and display gratitude.
A giving heart is generous. The widow gave all she had. The churches in Macedonia gave out of their extreme poverty. We need to be generous in our giving. Go above the 10 percent tithe. Learn to be generous.
A giving heart gives decidedly. Paul is writing to the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 8-9 reminding them to finish what they began. They had said they would give but they did not follow through with the act of giving. A giving heart gives. Have a giving heart that decides to give and does it.
A giving heart has the correct motive of giving. In Jesus’ time, there were those that sounded the trumpet when they were making their giving. They were drawing attention to themselves and what they were doing. (Matthew 6:1-4) Our motive should not be for the praise of men but for the love of God. Be willing to give in secret or even anonymous.
Personally, I am learning how to give from the Heart
As I personally reflected on my spiritual goals for the year, using this as a guideline, I spent some time looking at my own heart. As I looked at giving, I realized that I give but am lacking. I give when I have extra. I give when it doesn’t impact my money. This year I felt that the Lord was asking me to give a bit more and be willing to make some sacrifices, give of “my spending money”. I am not sure what all that will look like this year but my desire is that I have will know how to give from the heart.
Giving can and should be our tithes and offerings but it should also be other things and ways. Buying a drink or meal for a stranger, fixing a meal for someone in need or going through a busy time of life. It should be giving something that will meet another’s need. Don’t withhold from those who ask. Be decerning but willing to give from the heart.
Do you know How to Give from the Heart? Are you practicing giving from the heart? Do you have a practical tip about giving that would be an encouragement to others, share it in the comments?
Generous Living is a discipline for successful growth.