I was asked by someone: “I want to become generous; how do I do that?” Very interesting question, that has led me to meditate about generosity.
More believers than we may think find it hard to give to God. I remember having a conversation long ago with a pastor’s wife who told me, she is always willing to give her tithes or offerings, but when it comes to actually get the money out of her hands, she really struggles with it and most of the time, she ends up not giving at all. The person who asked me this question said, God had asked them to bless someone. Though they want to do it, there has been a pinch in their heart… they know that if they give, they won’t be giving joyfully. In today’s Church, we also have a category of people who give to God mechanically: because they were told they must give! Other people give by doing good things in church, but for appearance while inside they are reluctant. So, what they are doing lacks love and compassion or good motives. My brother my sister, giving anyway described above makes our actions empty because God will reward those who are sincere in their faith, in other words, those who give in faith.
You see, when Jesus was on earth, He knew that His mission was to give His life for us because we were condemned. Even so, He spent His time giving love, compassion, His presence, etc. by ministering to people. And we are to imitate Him. So, when Jesus says not to tell your left hand what your right hand is doing in Matthew 6:4, He is teaching us that our motives for giving to God and to others must be pure. It is easy to give with mixed motives, to do something for someone if it will benefit us in return. Some believers even give offerings and tithes to their church because they hope that God will multiply their finances… well, He can indeed multiply what you have given materially but He can also decide to multiply it by something not material at all such as increasing your faith and faithfulness to Him.
Long ago, I planted a seed in a church that led to my own deliverance. What value is my deliverance compared to the money I could have received from God in return of the seed I had planted? I link both because my deliverance came right after, but I also believe it had been planned in advance by God anyway. That is the reason why the believers should avoid all scheming and learn to give wholeheartedly and as a response to God’s love.
How do we become generous then? The answer is found in Matthew 6:4. We indeed have to become less self-centered but more God-centered as it is very easy to do things only to make us look good instead of making God look good. If you set in your mind that the reward God gives for our good deeds is not necessarily material, and it is never given to those who seek it, then you shall do things for God first and only. Also learn that whatever you do for yourself, for your own and sole benefit is not a loving sacrifice.
My friend, giving generously is giving without expecting anything in return: Jesus did not give His life expecting us to give Him anything back in return. He gave His life for us, with the promise to be resurrected, as He knew God wanted to give us eternal life through His sacrifice. Now, after He gave His life, God rewarded Him by making His name greater than any other name; it is God who exalted Him… By giving, Jesus was only doing the will of the Giver; He was obeying the Giver, He was trusting the Giver… When you have trouble giving, remember that God gave Jesus for you and me and He does not expect us to give Him anything in return. All that He expects of you and me is to accept this free and unconditional love that He has expressed through Jesus on the Cross. Therefore, your giving to God is simply an acknowledgement that God owns everything, including “your” possessions. Once you grasp this fact, you will look at your possessions and finances very differently.
The same, see yourself as God’s assistant on earth: you are here to manage the things of God, that is to say God has entrusted a portion of His riches to you and I. So, you and I have the privilege and responsibility of taking care of His property and spending the money He gives us in ways that please Him: “You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God” (2 Corinthians 9:11). Yes, giving to God is an expression of your trust to Him who gives first and can do much more than what you can imagine. May Jesus strengthen those who struggle with giving or give because they have expected something in return. Stay blessed in Jesus’ name.