Did you know that our giving is the ONLY area in the Word where God asks us to test him?
Malachi 3:10 says “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”
Proverbs tells us that “one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” 2 Corinthians reminds us that “God loves a cheerful giver.” Further in 2 Corinthians, Paul tells us that “God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work.” This does not necessarily material blessings, but rather spiritual blessings. “You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us.” And of course we know it is more blessed to give than to receive.
I know it can be tough to trust God with our finances, especially if you live paycheck to paycheck. We feel as if WE work hard for our money and sometimes fail to recognize that everything we have is because God has ALLOWED us to have it. He opened the door for us to have that job or career, and he can take it away in an instant. When we choose not to be faithful in our giving, whatever the excuse may be, we are basically stealing from God. It’s all HIS anyway, he is just entrusting it to us, so it only makes sense we are obedient in giving back what is rightfully his. Luke 16:10 says "If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won't be honest with greater responsibilities.” Sometimes we tell ourselves we’ll wait till we start making more money or wait for that raise before we start giving. We can all come up with lots of reasons excuses why we can’t give. But that’s all they are. Excuses. Stealing for God and expecting him to bless you are two contradictory concepts- it just ain’t gonna happen. I know, because I have been there. Thankfully a few years back the Lord convicted my heart about this.
God wants us to prove we are going to be faithful in the little things before he trusts us with the BIG things our hearts desire. And please note, I am NOT only talking about money here. I am talking about our TIME. Our LOVE. This goes way beyond financial and material blessings, and I can tell you spiritual blessings are way more fulfilling. Isn’t it amazing how some people who seem to be so poor financially are the quickest to give and help out? And how JOYFUL they seem? Learn to be thankful, content, and quick to help others. You may have to ask for God’s help in this one!
- Take care of our family’s NEEDS. (Notice this does not say wants.) Live within your means.
- Plan for giving your first fruits (10%) back through tithes. This includes time. Does God get at LEAST 10% of your time on a daily basis?
- Pay off debt that you owe. Proverbs 22:7 says the “borrower is a slave to the lender.” Paying off your debt allows you to not only comfortably give your 10%, but well beyond that because you aren’t limited with your income going towards bills.
- Give generously & with a cheerful heart. Giving with tightly gripped hands will not reap the kind of rewards we want. God LOVES a cheerful giver. Be thankful for what you have and excited to give back to God what is rightfully his. Trust that he will not only provide and meet all of your needs, but “exceedingly, abundantly more than all you could ask or imagine” (Eph 3:20). Again, this goes beyond material wealth.
- Pray about where and how much God wants you to give. Ask God for direction in your giving. Do not just give to any and every cause. Be intentional and ask God for specifics. He will reveal opportunities for you to bless others with your gifts, time, talents, and resources. Maybe it’s a meal for a new mom? Maybe it’s passing along some old clothes to a family in need? Maybe you have a specific skill or service and you can help others in that area? Maybe it’s a monetary donation? Maybe it’s offering your time to serve?
I can think of countless examples of times God has stretched us to give way beyond our comfort zone, and he ALWAYS provides immensely when we trust and give freely and cheerfully. God blesses obedience, and it grows our faith. I have found that when I am not taking time to get in the Word, pray, etc., that I “do not hear from God” as clearly, if at all. However, when I choose to draw near to him, it becomes evident what He is calling me to do and I have the choice to be obedient or disobedient.
We try not to talk about what we give if at all possible and we prefer to do it in “secret” if we can. Like the Pharisees, boasting about giving robs you of your blessings. “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” –Matthew 6:3
I challenge you today to dig in the Word. Know what the Bible says about giving. Ask God what he wants from you. Teach your children about tithing and giving. It might challenge you or stretch you, but again, THIS is how God builds our faith. He ALWAYS provides. Give with a cheerful heart. Be obedient. Test God in this area, and be prepared for spiritual blessings to abound. As Luke 6:38 says, “A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”