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The Divine Principles of Giving
by Dr Surya Kumar Daimari
9/15/2015 / Christian Living
Giving is the most vital part of a Christian's life. A Christian life without giving is like a fig tree without any fruit in it. Giving has been described as a godly act, because, it concerns our spiritual life. Giving exemplifies the measure of our spiritual growth and maturity. God is the best and the greatest giver. He gives us everything we need. In other words, everything we have, belongs to God. He created the whole universe and the things in it. He also created us in His own image and gave us life abounding both physical and spiritual. The greatest gift that He gave us is His only begotten Son so that by believing in Him we inherit eternal life. It is Jesus, the Son of God that laid down His life on the cross of Calvary for our eternal deliverance. This is the greatest gift of our God. And here in this lies the principle of giving that we give to God because, He first gave us.
2. WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN GIVING?
(i) An Act of Love:
Giving is an act of love. God first loved us and gave His only begotten Son. By giving back to God, we show our love to Him. Out of our love to God, we give our life, our wealth, our talents and everything we have. The more we love, the more we give. Jn 15:15 says, ".....there is no greater love than to give one's life for his friend."
(ii) An Act of Worship:
Giving is an act of worship. We worship God by giving. Giving is in fact an offering to God by which we bridge our relationship to God. It is not that we must give something material to God to worship Him. But giving is an expression of our worship to a living God. It is an expression of our awe, our devotion and our love to Him, a reflection of treasures of our own heart. In the New Testament, we see that the wise men from the east came to worship the baby Jesus and brought precious gifts as an expression of their devotion to their Lord and Saviour. Matt 2:11
(iii) An Act of Thanksgiving:
It is an act of thanksgiving. We give back to God as a sign of our love and gratitude towards Him. While giving, we bow down with gratitude remembering what God has done for us. Prov 3:6
(iv) An Act of Honour:
Our God is worthy of Honour. We give to God to honour Him. Prov 3:9 says, "Honour the Lord with thy substance"
(v) An Act of Faith:
Giving is truly an act of faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb 11:16). By giving we also prove the measure of our faith in God. Abraham's faith in God is an excellent example of faith in action in the Bible. The picture of Abraham giving his only son, Isaac for sacrifice on the altar on Mount Moriah exemplifies the real meaning of faith. After God was satisfied with Abraham in terrible experiment God had said to him,
"......for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withhold thy son, thine only son from me." Gen 22:12
And "it was reckoned to him for righteousness." Rom 4:3
(vi) An Act of Reconciliation:
By giving His only Son, God has reconciled man to Himself. When we return to God something by way of giving, it means that we are reconciled to God. Through reconciliation we have become the children of God.
(vii) An Act of Sowing:
Giving is an act of sowing. The more we sow the more we reap. Ps 126:5 says, "we sow in tears but reap in joy."
Gal 6:7, "Be not deceived; God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap."
II Cor 9:15, "But this I say, he which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall also reap bountifully." Our God is a God of love and He honours our giving by returning a bounty. Mal 3:10
3. WHY SHOULD WE GIVE?
(i) We should give to God because, God first gave us. Our giving must reflect our love, our gratitude, our honour, our faith, our sacrifice and our worship towards a Living God who first loved us and gave us eternal life through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. He has not only given us eternal life but also given us everything we need in this world. In fact, He has given us the whole earth and the things in it, land, water, good air.........Psalm 8:5-8
Besides, He has given us money, children, knowledge, wisdom, talents etc. Our giving does not only involve money and wealth but also giving of our life, our self, our body, our mind, our intellect, our knowledge, our wisdom, our talents, our times etc. for His glory. Giving is our due to God who is worthy of it.
(ii) We should give to God because, God has asked us to give.
Mal. 3:10, "Bring ye all the tithes into the store house.........."
Prov. 3:9 "Honour the Lord with substance."
I Cor 16:2 "Upon the first day of the week every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, ....."
Giving is never a tax paid to the Church. It is obviously a commandment of God Himself. By giving we show the measure of our love to Him.
(iii) We should give to God because, God needs money for His mission.
Does God lack money? Is our God who is the author of the whole universe poor enough to perform His mission? The fact is that giving to God does not mean giving money to God in literal sense.
In fact, while giving, we literally give to ourselves, His Church and His people to perform His mission. God has delegated us through His Son Jesus Christ a great responsibility to fulfil His mission, His plans and purposes in this earth for the extension of His Kingdom. Before His ascension to heaven, Jesus Christ appeared to His eleven disciples and said unto them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you alway to the very end of the age, " Matt. 28:18-20
This is His Great Commission. In order to fulfil this Great commission, the children of God must give liberally. This great mission is entrusted to the Church today. Without giving, it will be an impossible task to reach the whole world with the whole gospel and to have the end time harvest. Giving for mission therefore, should gain the highest priority. It is our burden to fulfil God's plans and purposes in this earth. Paul said,
"For we are labourers together with God.........." I Cor 3:9
4. HOW SHOULD WE GIVE?
(1) The Mode of Giving in the Old Testament:
Apart from various kinds of sacrificial offerings and gifts offerings, the Israelite had practised mainly two kinds of giving on regular basis. They are---
(i) Tithing and
(ii) The Giving of the First Fruits
Etymologically, the word, "TITHE" has been derived from the Heb word, "asaar" signifying the meaning of "ten" which means "to be rich". This basic principle behind tithing is the acknowledgement of the fact that everything rightly belongs to God. He only is the owner of all things. We are only His stewards. Tithing is an OT form of giving honouring God from man's own property, which is God's own portion. Malachi 3:10, "Bring ye all the tithes into the store house....."
Prov 3:9, "Honour the Lord with thy substance."
Tithing in the OT consisted of giving one tenth of all yearly produce and of the increase of flocks and cattle. The Tithe is God's own portion. Not giving Tithes means robbing God Himself. Malachi 3:8,9,
Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say,where in have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse, for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation."
But at the same time God also has bounty of blessings for a faithful giver.
"Bring ye all the tithes into the store house, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessings enough to receive it." Mal 3:10
It is very significant that tithing must come to the store house of the Lord and to non other business because, this is God's own portion. Tithing did not begin with the law of Moses. Tithing was practised before the giving of the law of Moses. Tithing was also common among the Semitic People. Abraham gave to Malchizedek one tenth of all spoils. It gives us strength to believe that Tithing is also a timeless pattern for the Christians in the Church to day.
(ii)Giving of the First Fruits:
Giving of the first fruits was not a tithing. It was generally amounted to one fiftieth of the produce. Lev 23:10; Ex 23:19; Deut 26:2
Prov 3:9, "Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase," Ex 23:19; 34:26
Giving of the first fruits included all kinds of grain, wine and oil. Num 18:12
Figurative use of the First Fruits:
The ceremonial presentation of the first fruits has several typical and symbolical implications both in the OT and NT.
(i) The chosen nation Israel is referred to as God's "First Fruits" in Jer 2:3 wholly dedicated to God.
(ii) In the NT, Christ in His resurrection is spoken as the "First Fruits" of them that slept. I Cor 15:20, 23
(iii) The believers in Christ are also represented as a "kind of first fruits", James 1:18
In Christ, we have become a wonderful specimen of God.
(iv) The Holy Spirit, now given to all believers is also spoken as the first fruits. Rom8:23
(v) The present saved remnant in Israel is also spoken as the first fruits. Rom 11:16
(vi) The first converts in any particular area also spoken as the first fruits. Rom 16:5; I Cor 16:15
Thus giving of the first fruits has an appropriate biblical standing. By giving our first fruits of all kinds, we give only a specimen as a sign of our dedication and acknowledgement that all things come from God and belong to Him alone. Our God is a God who gives us a bounteous harvest. And this is God's providence for all the believers in Christ.
(2) The Mode of Giving in the New Testament:
Tithing is no where taught directly in the N.T. . But a believer is taught to give
b. BOUNTIFULLY and
iCor 16:2, " upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him----"
II Cor 9:6-7, "----He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly, and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give not grudgingly, or of necessity, for God loveth a cheerful giver."
The N.T. doesn't teach us to give in proportion or in percentage basis but rightly sets some living example of giving.
(i) The Poor Widow's Giving: Mk 12:41-44
She gave little but gave all her living.
(ii) The Churches of Macedonia: II Cor 8:1-5
They gave liberally despite their deep poverty.
They gave beyond their power.
They first gave their own selves to the Lord.
However, these examples do not set the principles of giving but rightly show a pattern that measures the heart. We are in the higher monarchy of spiritual status. Our living and giving standard should always exceed the O.T. standard. Our concept of giving should therefore be in accordance with the concept of constantly rising graph.
The hike of our giving should get its momentum from the 1/10th giving as the basis slowly going up the ladder of giving. The following quotations will give more freshness to our mind and intensify the very spirit of giving.
Giving is no measurement of your income.
It's the measurement of your heart.
The more you earn,
The more you give.
The more you give,
The more you reach.
The more you give,
The more you rejoice.
Have much and give much.
Give much and have much.
Christian people should be rich for God's sake. Our God is not only a God who bestows spiritual blessings but He is also a God who bestows material blessings as well. There are abundance of promises in the Bible. Viz.,
"but seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and these things shall be added unto you." Matt 6:33
Christian people should be industrious and independent,
"Let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give....." Eph 4:28
Christian people should be a generous giver rather than a receiver.
"It is more blessed to give than to receive." Acts 20:35
Let us not be rich for our own sake and criticize giving. There is a red signal from God for those rich people who do not give for His mission.
"Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation." Mal 3:9
If the Church today do not give for His mission, the curse of God will fall on us. It is therefore, important that we grow more inquisitive of the precious biblical nuggets so that we may stir up in biblical and systematic giving.
You cannot give out of nothing. You cannot give anything which you do not possess. If you want to give in abundance, you must have in abundance. This is known as overflowing. A life of overflowing is a life giving always but never lacking anything. God has abundance of promises for a faithful giver. A life of giving is indeed a life that overflows. By giving away our tithes and gifts we can really be part of God's mission and thereby experience the joy of giving.
Name of the Author of this article: Dr. Surya Kumar Daimari, MA,M.Ed, PGDTE,D.Min.(Doctor of Ministry)
The author is a freelance writer.
Book published: The Names of the Believers in the Bible in Types and Symbols .
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