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
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).