Underlying Scriptural Principles

Built into the Law of Moses were checks and balances to ensure that oppression was not perpetuated by those motivated by greed. Every 50 years land was returned to the original owners and every 7 years all debts were cancelled! It was a gift from the creditor to the debtor. And further to this, a stern warning was given for those who might think, “I will not lend because the year of release (the 7th year) is near”. The Law of the Lord was sensitive to those in need and inspired graciousness towards them. God wants us to freely give. He wants us to open our hands wide, to be generous. He wants us to give based on a need and not just when we have surplus. He wants us to give even if there’s no hope of receiving anything in return. We find all these principles of giving mentioned in Deuteronomy 15. Elsewhere in scripture we learn that God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7), that is it more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35) and that those who sow sparingly will also reap sparingly (2 Corinthians 9:6). God opens His hand wide to us (Psalm 145:16); we can show our appreciation by reciprocating this generosity to others. By compassionate giving we not only show our love, but Gods love (1 John 3:17); we not only give to those in need, we lend unto the Lord (Proverbs 19:17).

There’s a saying that goes like this: “The real measure of our wealth is how much we’d be worth if we lost all our money” (J. H. Howett). That’s the point isn’t it? All the ‘getting’ of material possessions does nothing to increase the value of who we are. It’s not what we give. It’s not how much we give. It’s why we give.

“Give, and it will be given to you. 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." (Luke 6:38).

Summary of key scriptural principles related to giving:

• Be generous – we need to open our hands wide to those in need (Dt 15:8, 11), because God opens His hands wide for us (Ps 145:14-16); with the same measure that we mete, it shall be measured against us (Lk 6:38).

• Give based on a person’s need – by doing so, we demonstrate Gods love in us (1 Jn 3:17).

• Beware of thoughts that prevent generous giving (Dt 15:9), knowing that if we do not hear the cries of the poor, our own cries will not be heard (Pr 21:12).

• Thoughts are not enough, physical needs must be attended to (Js 2:14-17).

• Giving must be done freely and without grudge, for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor 9:7).

• Giving must be done discretely, without the seeking of attention of praise, for our Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you (Mt 6:2-4).

• Giving must be done in faith, knowing God will bless us in all our works (Dt 15:10).

 

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