It seems more and more American billionaires are finding it a pleasure to give rather than accumulating. US investor Warren Buffet along with Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates have initiated a project called ‘The giving pledge’ to urge the richest people in America to pledge half or more of their wealth to charity. So far 69 US billionaire families have taken the pledge and the latest one is Silicon Valley venture capitalist Vinod Kholsa. Buffet has already pledged 99 % of his assets in Berkshire Hathaway towards philanthropy. This pledging group include the CNN founder Ted Turner, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison and Face book founder Mark Zuckerberg.
As these business tycoons are delighted to give and encouraging others to taste its enjoyment, it would be good to consider Christian giving according to the word of God.
May be to avoid possible misinterpretation many Bible teachers and preachers often avoid this topic. The result is many are ignorant of the scriptural principles of giving. Those who give traditionally keep on giving and those who have only learned to accumulate keep on accumulating. However the interesting feature is there are some others who misuse this ignorance to squeeze money from the hands of Christians using any method as the worldly fund raisers do. It’s very important for believers to know the Biblical basics of giving as well as fund collection.
Basically, giving by a Christian believer is different from the above mentioned billionaires. The later gives for charity, being concerned towards a need or the needy. But a Christian gives to God, acknowledging that the Lord is the legitimate owner of all what he is handling. We are only stewards of God’s resources. He has graciously allowed us to enjoy these things. (1Timothy 6: 17, 18)
Listen to what God declares to the people of Israel, “Every beast of the forest is Mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills….. The world is Mine and all its fullness.” Psalm 50:10—12. “The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine.” Haggai 2:8.
David realised it well for he says, “…All that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the Kingdom….all things come from You and of Your own we have given you.” 1Chronicles 29:11—14.
When we are fully convinced of the divine rights on all what we possess, we will be more than willing to give, not just for a need, but knowing fully that it is our need to give. There are some believers who are looking for needy people to whom they may give. Or they are waiting for an appeal from some one who is desperately in need of funds. As long as they don’t see any body crying for help, they think it’s not necessary for them to give.
In the book of Malachi the Lord rebukes Israel for stealing His portion. “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed me! But you say, ‘in what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me. Even this whole nation.” Malachi 3:8, 9. Deliberately neglecting to give to God and His purposes is a grave mistake. The Lord takes it very seriously.
There are some who argue that in the New Testament there is no instruction to give tithe. Such an argument only proves the lowest spiritual level of that believer. In fact our attitude to money actually indicates our spiritual state. (Luke 19:8, 9; Matthew 6:20)
Of course, we are not under the law, but grace. We are not supposed to give just a tenth portion as the law says, but we ought to give as much as possible, with all joy. Since we have received so much, we ought to give much to the Lord. The sad thing, even after receiving plenty in every facet some do not even consider the aspect of giving.
There are few who are willing to give, but only to relatives, influential men who come with an appeal, or to those who will acknowledge them appropriately. What is Christ’s instruction? “But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” Matthew 6:3.
True giving is not for a name or fame, but giving quietly as directed by God for we give that which belongs to God. .We must find it as a joy to give to God and His purposes. Whether giving to a full time servant of God or to the needs of a local assembly we must consider that we are giving to God His own money.
The Lord challenges the Israelites who failed in their giving, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this.” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.” Malachai 3:10.
It’s a proven fact that God is never a debtor to any body. As we present ourselves and all what we have at God’s disposal, He accepts it as a sweet smelling aroma and returns the same, may be much more to be used again for God’s glory. The well known verse on God’s provision in the book of Philippians is a promise to those who give. “….My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:18, 19.
Givers do receive. The joy and satisfaction we get as a result of giving must be experienced by all. It’s a partnership work with the Lord in providing for the needs of His people who live by faith. As a result, not only the needs of the saints are met, God is honoured and glorified as well. Moreover the givers are also blessed and rewarded. (2Corinthians 9:12—14, 6, 10; Luke 6:38)
When the secular men enjoy it and advocate for it, how much more we believers should practice it. May not be just to copy them, but give as the Lord demands us in His word.